How to start a logistics company in Dubai, UAE


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There can be few countries better set up than the UAE for logistics businesses.

It is a relatively short flight from most of the world’s population, at the heart of the Middle East.

Its world-class air, land, and sea freight infrastructure affords it direct links with every corner of the globe. And its low tax regime, plus minimal red tape, allow for easy and affordable import and export.

This winning environment is reflected in the size of the region’s logistics industry, which is expected to generate over USD 30bn in revenues by 2035.

And there’s more good news. With expert help, setting up a logistics business in the UAE can be incredibly fast and straightforward. Here’s how to get started.

Benefits of starting a logistics company in the UAE

If the opening paragraphs of this article haven’t already answered the question – is logistics a good business? The answer is a resounding yes, especially in the UAE.

The benefits listed above – low tax, excellent infrastructure, direct freight and cargo connections, make this one of the top spots in the world for logistics businesses.

Dubai is home to some of the world’s busiest sea- and airports, and boasts great road links to neighbouring emirates and surrounding countries. So, whether you’re distributing goods domestically, locally, or internationally, you’ll struggle hard to find a better base.

Steps to start a logistics business in Dubai

When starting any business in the UAE, your first step should be to find a reputable local expert who can guide you through the process.

Company setup agents, such as Set Hub, can handle every step of the process on your behalf. As well as removing the hassle of company formation, working with an expert can also help reduce errors and delays, and increase your chances of a successful license application.

We can guide you through the five step UAE company formation process.

Step 1: Selecting your business activities

You’ll need to specify the area of logistics that you’ll be trading in, and ensure that your chosen activity aligns with those on the list published by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

Failure to specify every intended activity could lead to issues further down the line. However, there are thousands of permitted activities to choose from, so we’re sure to find one that fits the bill.

Step 2: Choosing your company name

Next, we’ll help you choose a suitable company name for your UAE mainland business.

When choosing a company name in the UAE, you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e., Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

Step 3: Making your license application

After assisting with your early admin, we will then move on to the most critical step in the process: applying for your UAE trade license.

When applying to form a mainland company, this application is made directly to the Dubai DED, or the local equivalent if you choose to set up in another emirate. This process takes place primarily online and can be completed within hours.

We can manage the process for you, informing you as soon as your license is approved and you are ready to trade.

Step 4: Making your visa applications
As well as a trade license, you’re also required to hold a residency visa to work in the UAE. Again, we can help you obtain this important document.

The visa application process consists of several steps including biometric scanning, a medical and a chest x-ray.

As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas too. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.

The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.

Step 5: Opening a corporate bank account

Finally, you will need a corporate bank account to trade in the UAE. Obtaining banking services as an overseas investor is not always easy. However, we will take the time to understand your needs before putting you in touch with an institution that is most able to meet them.

Documents required to start a logistics business in Dubai

There is minimal documentation required when applying to start a logistics business in Dubai, UAE.

In most cases, you will only be asked to provide the completed license application form, a copy of your passport and that of any other shareholders, and two colour passport photos.

In some instances, you may also be required to submit a business plan. To ensure all your documents are present and correct, we will liaise with the relevant authorities prior to submitting your application.

Start your logistics company in Dubai with Set Hub

If you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a logistics business in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission, and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a mainland company formation specialist, such as Set Hub, when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application, Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts, and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services, and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.