While the UAE is a tax-free country, costs can quickly mount for services such as transporting personal goods. And those costs are rising. In February, the cost of shipping personal items into Abu Dhabi through Mina Zayed port was increased by as much as 40 per cent in some instances. Abu Dhabi Terminals, the port operator, charges shipping agents or shipping lines for the movement of clients' personal effects from container ships to the port yard and finally out the gate. These charges are passed on to clients. Agents and shipping lines also charge fees.
The cost of one move - from the yard to a vehicle -is now Dh140 (US$38), up from Dh100. Officials at Abu Dhabi Terminals attributed the February fee increases to unprecedented demand at Mina Zayed. "To handle the volume and to do upgrades at the port on equipment and resources, for all that we needed to do this to give a better service," a customer service officer said. Shipping lines can charge more than Dh500 to move a container off a vessel, with a Dh35 documentation fee charged by Abu Dhabi Terminals.
A paperwork correction means an amendment fee of Dh35. Having a large container moved twice on the yard can cost Dh220. The fees extend even to gaining access to the port, with a daily gate pass costing Dh10. Finally, people arriving in the emirate may face extra charges if their personal effects are considered to be new. Abu Dhabi Customs does not charge local residents for personal effects if they are second-hand. But if the goods are deemed new, Customs will levy a 5 per cent fee on the assessed value.