Fewer people leaving the UAE in 2018, says shipping company boss

Fewer people leaving the UAE in 2018, says shipping company boss


Shipping volumes for expats returning home have “come down drastically” this year compared to the same period in 2017.

Abhilash Nair, regional manager of the removal division at ISS Worldwide, one the leading international shipping companies in the country, told Arabian Business: “We’re down between 12 and 15 percent compared to last year, and that’s in terms of both bookings and enquiries.

“Spending on relocation by individuals is much lower, although corporate paid movement remains steady – and it seems there were more lay-offs last year than this.”

The figures contradict recent suggestions that there is an ongoing exit of expats – particularly senior or C-suite level executives – from the UAE. 

One recent newspaper column in the region even suggested that the only booming sector in the current business climate was removals companies catering to expats packing up to go home.

Nair also said that the volumes of goods being shipped this year are smaller, indicating that people are choosing to dispose of more items in the UAE before they leave rather than pay the increased costs of sending home their personal effects.

July is usually the busiest month for repatriation, which is due to a combination of the summer slowdown and the end of the school year, which parents will seek to see out before returning home.

For those coming in the opposite direction, September is the busiest month. Nair said that so far bookings for inbound shipments are “looking quite positive” and that “more people seem to be coming in compared to 2017”, although he added the caveat that a clearer picture will emerge as they progress through August.

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