Exporting from USA to Erbil – Insights and Logistics for Iraqi Kurdistan

Shipping from US to Kurdistan Iraq

Erbil, Iraq (aka Arbil, Irbil, known in Kurdish as  Hewlêr) the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Erbil is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraqi Kurdistan has proven oil reserves of around 45 billion barrels. The Kurdistan region, also known as IKR (Iraqi Kurdistan Region) has seen Kurds from several neighboring countries flock to Kurdistan to work, invest, and start new businesses.


AEL is very experienced in handling shipments from any point the US to Erbil or other parts of Iraqi, Kurdistan. We have a reliable agent in Erbil that will handle your shipments with care.  Whether the cargo is electronics, food, cars, machinery, construction equipment, cosmetics, oil and gas equipment or other cargo, we have the team to get the job done. We have experience in shipping containers, breakbulk, roro, air freight and charter vessels from the USA to the Middle East.


Below is the Iraqi Kurdistan Region political map:



The major cities in Iraqi Kurdistan Region are: Erbil or Arbil, Sulaymaniyeh, Dihok or Duhok, Zaxo or Zakho, Kelar, Rowanduz, Halabja, Simele and Ranye.


Firms are not obliged to hire local staff, have local investors or local partners, and can repatriate their profits back to their home countries without any problems.


Erbil has a stock exchange called the ESX. They recently adopted NASDAQ OMX’s X-Stream Trading Technology to increase market participant involvement, in the region and internationally.


International Freight and Logistics to Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan


Ocean Freight and Land Freight


There are several routes when shipping from USA to Erbil and Kurdistan

• USA to Mersin port and then truck to Erbil.

• Ship to other Turkish ports and then truck to Erbil.

• Ship to Aqaba, Jordan and then ship to Kurdistan, but you will have to pass Iraq’s borders and this can cause delays.

•  Lastly, routing can be from USA to Umm Qasr port near Basra, and then trucked to Erbil or other part of Iraqi Kurdistan.


Most oil and gas equipment is shipped from Houston to Erbil. You can ship using breakbulk or roro service from Houston to Erbil via Turkey.

AEL has freight forwarding and logistics experience from all USA ports to Erbil and the rest of Iraqi Kurdistan. We can handle door to door shipments from USA to Erbil. We can handle the customs clearance in Erbil and final delivery as well.


Air Freight


The Erbil International Airport also known as EBL is the main airport for shipping air freight to Erbil. AEL has competitive rates with all major carriers going from USA to EBL airport. We can handle the customs clearance in Erbil and final delivery to your door.


Goods Imported to Erbil and Iraqi Kurdistan:


As an area with little production or manufacturing base, almost everything is imported into Iraq. These include: all types of energy equipment and supplies, oil drilling equipment and components, oil exploration equipment, gas drilling equipment, gas exploration equipment, pipeline and parts, electronics, food, cars, machinery, construction equipment, cosmetics, and many other types of cargo.


Car shipping to Erbil and Kurdistan is also increasing due to the increase in GDP per capita and the need for more cars.


Customs and Duties:

Duties on most goods are between 3% and 7.5%.


Most goods imported into Iraq must have Bureau Veritas or SGS certification. Here are two links, one for Bureau Veritas Certification and SGS Certification for cargo going to Kurdistan, Iraq.


If you are importing oil or gas equipment, you must have a Kurdistan based company as well as approval from the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad, Iraq. To learn more about the import process and get rates, through    Request a Quote  or Call Us (800-874-4748 Ext. 192 | +1 310 523 2300 Ext. 192) to ship today.


The US State Department has a consulate in Erbil, their website is: http://erbil.usconsulate.gov/

Here is a great article on the geopolitics of Oil in Iraqi Kurdistan: http://goo.gl/rVWT09


List of Top Oil Companies in Kurdistan by Country


Exxon Mobil
Aspect Energy
Marathon Oil Corporation
Hillwood International Energy
Hunt Oil
Prime Oil
Murphy Oil
Hess Corporation
HKN Energy
Viking International


Forbes and Manhattan
Western Zagros Resources
Talisman Energy Inc
NIKO Resources
Ground Star


South Korea
Korea National Oil Company


Genel Energy


Britain / U.K.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum LTD
Sterling Energy
Heritage Oil
Anglo-French company


Dana Petroleum






China acquired a significant presence in Iraqi Kurdistan after Sinopec Group bought Addax Petroleum in 2009.




Reliance Industries


Papua New Guinea
Oil Search


Gazprom Neft




Oil Search (Iraq) Limited
Kar Group
Qaiwan Group







Top Oil Companies in the Kurdistan Region by Activity


The upstream oil sector is dominated by medium-size foreign oil companies. The recent entry of the big heavy-weight IOC like Exxon Mobil will lead to consolidation in the industry.

Exxon Mobil
Genel Energy
Gulf Keystone Petroleum LTD.
Oryx Petroleum
Dana Gas
Marathon Oil Corporation
Gazprom Neft
MOL Group
Hunt Oil Middle East Limited
Oil Search (Iraq) Limited
Talisman Energy
Viking International
HKN Energy
Western Zagros


Data taken from:  http://www.hawlergov.org/en/article.php?id=1360563574