Dubai forced to restrict air cargo imports

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Air freight heading to Dubai is likely to be disrupted this week.


Dubai has been forced to implement a temporary halt on imports to its international airports this week in an attempt to clear the backlog of shipments that has accumulated.

The Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) imposed the restrictions from October 19th to last at least six days. It said this was a necessary measure due to the extraordinary volume of inbound products.

The special measures will also affect imports heading to other destinations within the United Arab Emirates and stopping off in Dubai, although some essential freight will be exempt.

A Dnata spokesperson told the Financial Times: "We are currently working around the clock to clear the backlog of unprocessed cargo at Dubai International Airport, caused by extraordinarily high volumes of inbound cargo to Dubai, and will endeavour to resume normal operations at the earliest."

According to the handler's website, Dnata usually serves 159 airlines sending cargo across the globe and handles some 7,300 tonnes of shipments each day.

This news is particularly bad timing for Dubai as it hosts the delayed Expo 2020 World Fair, with 192 nations involved in a showcase of the world trade opportunities the city state has to offer.

However, it comes after chair of Dubai ports operator DP World Sultan bin Sulayem said earlier this month that he thinks supply chains could be disrupted for up to two years as traders worldwide try to negotiate a system that relies too heavily on China.

The Emirates are not alone in their logistical struggles lately, though. Financial Times figures suggest as many as 600 freight ships are waiting to be processed across the globe due to consumer demand and disruption related to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the US has been forced to start operating its Port of Los Angeles 24 hours a day to clear its own backlog, and the UK has experienced fuel supply issues due to a lack of available drivers.

The fact that the cost of sending goods by sea has soared is another contributing factor to greater demand for air freight - and why Dubai has had to take a temporary stand to regain control.