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How to open a transport business in Dubai and the UAE

How to open a transport business in Dubai and the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is the largest international transit hub connecting the countries of the West, Europe, Africa and Asia. Favorable geographical location, state support and billion-dollar investments have brought the Emirates’ logistics system to a high level and combined air, shipping and land routes of different continents.

Business in the field of transport is a fairly profitable and promising investment of the available capital. In the modern market, transportation is highly in demand. Experts note the ever-increasing consumer demand.

In such circumstances, the opportunity to open a transport business in Dubai, using the loyal policy of the state and corporate advantages in the form of tax and customs benefits, is the best solution.

Advantages of opening a transport company in Dubai

Opening a transport company

Now Dubai is a center of attraction for entrepreneurs from all over the world. 50 years ago, there was a desert on the site of a modern metropolis, and today offices of many international corporations are open in the emirate. Every year thousands of investors come to the country to try their luck. They understand that it is not only financially profitable, but also easier than in most advanced countries. In addition, it attracts representatives of small transport businesses. Many teams have registered their firms in this country.

Strategic location

The main reason is its geographical location. It is convenient to get to the Emirates from all continents of the globe. The average flight time from Sydney, New York and Tokyo airports is 10 hours. In addition, from this emirate you can get directly to the capital of almost any country in the world. Due to its geographical location, the city is a major logistics center of world trade. On the territory of the seaports there are a large number of warehouses for transit cargo going to all corners of the planet.

The world’s best infrastructure

Dubai is one of the fastest growing and economically developed regions in the world. The high level of the economy provides the best infrastructure for business creation.

The state is interested in the development of infrastructure, as it is the main engine of the tourism business and attracting investors. Growth is taking leaps and bounds.

Advantages of Dubai for companies

If you open an organization, in addition to other advantages, you can also get a prestigious company. Companies registered in Dubai attract the attention of all Gulf States. Such firms are given the opportunity to enter into government contracts with governments.

One of the advantages is the ability to open a bank account. Unlike most countries, they do not require a huge number of documents and citizenship.

Types of transport services

Types of transport services

One of the advantages of the transport business is that an entrepreneur can choose from a large number of directions. It all depends on the possible investments, conditions and desires.

  • Cargo transport by light or heavy trucks.
  • Water transport service.
  • Rental and transport of heavy machinery.
  • Car, bus or special vehicle rental service.
  • Passenger transport.
  • Vehicles towing services and vehicle transport.
  • Specialist transportation services.
  • Refrigerated or petroleum transport.
  • Bicycle or motorcycle rentals service.
  • Vehicle Fleet Management services.
  • Luxury vehicle services.

In principle, all types require similar conditions and documents. The entrepreneur must assess the financial possibilities and competently draw up a business plan.

Steps to start a transport business

The opening of the firm takes place strictly in stages. An entrepreneur cannot skip one step because it violates the laws of the country. But there is an obvious plus. If everything is done in order, then all the points will be fulfilled. There are more chances that the company will get a permit.

Partnership with Trade License Zone

Entrepreneurs choose the free zone as an effective and flexible solution. The main advantages of opening an organization:

  • No visa restrictions;
  • Personal and corporate income are not taxed;
  • The ability to use business support services;
  • There are no currency restrictions.

Choose a business structure for your transportation business in the UAE

The man at the computer

There are 2 types of companies that most often open:

  • standard company in Mainland;
  • a company in FreeZone (otherwise — onshore).

It is also not uncommon for foreign citizens to open offshore companies, since this country is not included in the so-called lists of gray and black offshore companies.

The main types of activity – professional, commercial, industrial or consulting. There is a possibility to choose several types of activities within one of these groups. Depending on the chosen type of activity and general commercial needs, it is necessary to determine the best option.

Choosing and registering a company name

Company names must meet certain requirements and not be repeated in the register of companies.

The name of the company should be clear, contain an indication of the organizational and legal form, the purpose of its activities, or consist of the names of one or more participants. For branches, the name must match the name of the main company. As a rule, when passing the preliminary approval, you will have to have the following documents: a passport and its copy, a photo, a bank statement, proof of address and others.

Notarize your company’s documents

Notarize your company's documents

A mandatory step is to obtain a preliminary confirmation from the Department about the possibility of registering a company, enterprise or branch with a particular name.

Prior approval helps to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings in the future. At this stage, a check is also carried out. If there is a mistake, then the applicant can fix it and try again.

It is necessary to prepare and notarize these constituent documents in order to then coordinate them with the Department.

Documents submitted to the department must be notarized. If at least one paper is not confirmed, the entire package will be returned to the entrepreneur. You will have to go through the document submission procedure again.

Submit a business license application

Next, you need to prepare all the necessary documents, information about shareholders and organize the submission of documents to the relevant authorities. A company can be opened without the actual presence of a shareholder. The required documentation may include:

  • The completed application form.
  • Business plan.
  • Copies of the passports of the company’s shareholders and the appointed manager/director.
  • Samples of signatures of shareholders and the appointed manager/director of the new company.

The term of consideration of the application depends on several factors. In particular, the commission should carefully examine all documents, working conditions and type of activity. The minimum term is four weeks, but if there are any additional conditions, the term can grow to three months.

Obtaining a business license

Obtaining a business license

The legislation of the country requires the firm to carry out legitimate activities. The license serves as a confirmation of the legality of the enterprise. After submitting the documents, the commission reviews them and makes a decision. After obtaining a permit, the entrepreneur can start his business.

Apply for a resident visa for investors shortly after the approval of the company’s documents and obtaining a trade license. Investors who intend to start a business are eligible for a long-term visa.

After obtaining a permit to conduct business, an entrepreneur must remember about responsibility. The company must operate in accordance with the legislation of the country, and conduct activities that are specified in the permits received.

Estimated cost of opening a transport business?

The cost of opening a company depends on the type of activity of the company, the fact that it will be local, international or nominal and a number of other nuances. If we take the average cost of opening, for example, a transport company, where the cost of a license is about $ 7,000, then taking into account registration, opening a bank account and intermediary services, you will have to pay about $17,000-$20,000. A bank deposit is not included in this cost.

The service of a company registered includes:

  • Bookkeeping — $500-$700 monthly;
  • Legal services — $1,000 per month.

In addition, expenses should include the rental of an office, warehouse or other premises necessary for the conduct of business activities of the company. The average cost of a good office in the business center, with modern renovation and furniture, with an area of 100 square meters is $3,000-$4,000 per month. Similarly, to renting apartments, office owners require, at the conclusion of the contract, making a payment at least six months in advance. In addition, the tenant will have to make a deposit of 10% of the monthly cost if the office is furnished. Additionally, you need to pay a commission to the real estate agency, which varies from 5% to 10% of the rental cost of the office per month.


However, the above expenses are not mandatory for a nominee company. Small local companies can also limit their expenses by renting the necessary premises, but independently maintain accounting and do not hire lawyers to support their activities.

The United Arab Emirates is a state whose economic level of development, according to various estimates, is growing by 10% per year. Life is not cheap, but at the same time it is possible to legally and transparently open and conduct a transport business in Dubai, without sudden inspections by government agencies and so on.

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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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