What are the documents required for cargo handling in Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi government places great importance on the documents that are required in cargo handling. Some commodities have been restricted by the Saudi government and when exporting into Saudi Arabia it is very important to keep the list in mind. The export requirement by the Saudi Customs is detailed and made clear which involve labelling of the goods, submission of proper documents and the mode of transport. These are important to avoid any conflict.


Labelling ensures proper handling and in identifying the shipment. If the item is a food product then the label should include the contents, expiration date and the manufacturer and his contact number. These should be clearly labelled in the Arabic language.

  • Country of origin
  • Order Number
  • Handling instructions
  • Shipment port and place of dispatch
  • Gross and Net weight
  • Number of packages and the Size of the cases


The Saudi customs authority has listed a few documents that are compulsory to be produced with each shipment. The goods imported into Saudi Arabia should have the SASO certificate Saudi Arabia. This is also referred to as the Certificate of Conformity or the COC certificate. The SASO Certificate is mandatory to pass the goods and get them cleared at the customs.

  • Commercial invoice – this is a bill which should have the name of the buyer. This lets the buyer prove his ownership. The buyer needs to submit it to the bank.
  • Bill of lading – this is issued by the transport carrier to the exporter. It acknowledges the receipt of goods that need to be shipped.
  • Airway bill – this set out the terms between the exporter and the air transportation company to transport the goods. The bill is signed by the air transportation company. It states whether the freight is paid in advance.
  • Certificate of origin – the certificate of origin is officially certified and states the origin country of the product. These are of three types – for agricultural and animal items, industrial items and for natural resources. It includes the exporter’s details, importers details, and the type of good, full invoice and a copy of the invoice. It also indicates if there are any marks to identify the shipment.
  • Export declaration – this includes all the information like the port of export, information of the exporter, country of origin and destination of the goods, transport documents etc.

All these documents are compulsory for a hassle free cargo handling in Saudi Arabia and for the shipment to meet the SASO Standards.

Technical regulations and Standards

The SASO standards PDF mentions the goods that are allowed for import into Saudi Arabia. This is covered by the conformity assessment programme (CAP). The CAP does quality checks and inspection of the companies that are looking to export to Saudi Arabia. The stipulated proof is provided as a Certificate of Conformity. The document is checked by the Saudi customs authority at the time of arrival.

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