All emirates have modern airports and seaports. The port of Jebel Ali in Dubai is the largest man-made port in the world.
Jebel Ali in Dubai is the main port. Port Rashid in Dubai and Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi are also important ports. There are smaller ports in Sharjah, Ras al- Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain, and Fujairah. Other ports in the region, including in the UAE, have noticed Dubai's success and are seeking a share of the re-export business for themselves. While they may never be able to match Dubai for volume, efficiency, and expertise, Khor Fakkan and Fujairah, both in the UAE, possess something Dubai does not -- they are located on the Gulf of Oman outside the entrance to the Arabian Gulf. An international cargo ship can reduce sailing time by 24 hours from Europe to the Far East by not joining the queue to pass through the busy straits; bypassing the Gulf also means lower insurance rates.
The UAE has a well developed and modern infrastructure. Land transportation is by road and an asphalt highway network links all major cities. Authorities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are busily engaged in widening roads and replacing worn stretches. There is no rail system in the UAE -- although Dubai is reviewing plans for metro system expected to start in early 2009.
In general, imports are cleared when the importer presents a customs declaration showing the quantity, description, and value of the goods and pays the assessed duty .The customs officers normally accept the valuation shown the documents, but they are not bound by it and may set a higher value.
The countrywide shortage of warehousing facilities and the high cost of storage contribute to congestion in May U.A.E ports and airports. Sharjah continues to permit the entry of goods for local consumption or for transit to another country, but the Abu Dhabi port authorities prohibit transit goods to help reduce backlog. Improvements, including additional and enlarged warehouses, are under way at several airports throughout the U.A.E.
In Abu Dhabi, goods are held by customs free of demurrage for 30 days from the date of arrival of the carrying vessel. After 30 days, demurrage charges apply. Goods are subject to public auction if they are not withdrawn or if the customs duties are charges are not paid within six months of arrival.
Dubai allows free storage for 10 days but then charges progressively higher storage rates for another six months; if the merchandise is not removed prior to that time, it is sold.
There are a number of warehousing options in Dubai, both private and government -run, including a duty-free storage area, at Port Rashid and bonded facilities there and at the airport.