Maritime Logistics and Stevedoring Services in Dubai


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Dubai’s strategic position at the crossroads of the East and West has resulted in the Emirate becoming one of the most important hubs for the maritime transport of goods from all corners of the world.

At the heart of Dubai’s complex transshipment processes lies the important role of stevedores. Often referred to as cargo handling or dockwork, stevedoring is all about the complex process of loading and unloading ships, making it a key facet of the global supply chain.

If you seek to set up a stevedoring operation in Dubai, it’s important to understand that this is a challenging business model with its own set of unique challenges and obstacles that require precise navigation.


In Dubai, stevedoring falls under the umbrella group of cargo handling, which encompasses activities such as loading and unloading of goods, luggage, and stevedoring.

Here’s a breakdown of the key details:

Activity Code: 5224.02

Activity Name: Stevedoring or Cargo Loading & Unloading Services

DED Activity Code: 5224001

Activity Group: Transport, shipping and storage

License Type: Commercial

Third-party Approval: Required

Filing of Economic Substance Return: Not required

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Not required

Pre-License Third-Party Approval from DMA

To establish yourself as a stevedoring business in Dubai, you must obtain pre-license approval from the Dubai Maritime Authority (DMA). In addition to being a formality, obtaining these approvals showcases your dedication to upholding stringent quality and safety standards of the maritime sector, ensuring that cargo is handled with the utmost precision and care.

Who Does This Business Activity Cater To?

Stevedoring services cater to a diverse clientele, including:

Maritime Shipping Companies

Maritime shipping companies are heavily reliant on stevedoring services to guarantee the efficient handling of cargo at Dubai’s ports. Efficiency and security are key factors in ensuring that maritime trade operations continue seamlessly.

International Trade and Commerce

If you are an importer or exporter, stevedoring services are essential to maintain your international trade and commerce activities. Importers and exporters rely on efficient cargo handling to maintain the integrity of their goods and meet delivery deadlines.

Ports and Terminals

Ports and terminals in Dubai are dependent on stevedoring services to execute the transfer of cargo between ships, trucks, and other modes of transportation.

Simplifying the License Acquisition Process with Set Hub

Acquiring a trade license for stevedoring services in Dubai is a complex process that will require the expert guidance of a business set-up consultant like SetHub to ensure that all boxes are checked. Our guidance will be indispensable to ensure that you meet all the prerequisites to be well on your way in this thriving sector.

Recent Market Growth

90% of world trade relies on the maritime transport of goods and therefore, it is clear that this is a very stable industry to enter. In the case of the UAE’s positioning as a global maritime hub, the region’s ports handle a substantial share of cargo destined for the GCC countries and beyond.

Opportunities and Future Outlook

The demand for efficient cargo-handling services is always on the rise. Coupling this with the UAE’s world-class infrastructure, state-of-the-art ports, and strategic location results in a recipe for success for any entrepreneur. Dubai certainly is an ideal base for a stevedoring business that seeks to capitalize on the ever-present opportunities in this sector.