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Container Shipping to Malaysia

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Updated on 29 Aug 202210 min read

Malaysia has always been known for its rapid development and modernization, which it owes to its many industries that contribute to economic growth. International imports and exports are among the contributors to this, making Malaysia a viable market to expand your business.

If you are thinking about engaging in international shipping to Malaysia, we provide you with everything you need to know to get you started and ensure a seamless and successful shipping experience.

What are your options for container shipping to Malaysia?

To ship a container to Malaysia, you will need to engage ocean freight services. These are ideal if you want to transport your goods while minimizing your shipping costs. You also have the option to choose between less than container load or full container load.

Less than Container Load (LCL) to Malaysia

Less than container load shipping is ideal for small cargo and if you’re shipping in small quantities. It’s more economical because your goods will be consolidated with cargo from other sellers to fill an entire container. Because of the consolidation process, the shipping can take a little longer than FCL. However, LCL is more economical.

Full Container Load (FCL) to Malaysia

Full container load shipping, on the other hand, is best if you’re shipping large, bulky, or delicate items. This is because you pay for the space in an entire container for your goods to be shipped exclusively. You can ship small cargo through FCL as well, but it will cost you more compared to shipping via LCL. Even so, your goods can arrive in Malaysia faster with FCL.

How much does it cost to ship a container to Malaysia?

The cost of your shipment would differ depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • Nature of the goods
  • Ocean freight service chosen (LCL or FCL)
  • Weight of the goods
  • Volume of the goods
  • Distance between your port of origin to the destination port in India
  • Type of shipping service (door-to-door, port-to-port, etc.)

Freight forwarders usually offer quote estimates to help you get a better idea of your shipping costs.

What type of cargo can be sent in a container?

Shipping via LCL or FCL gives you more freedom as to what you can ship because ocean freight has fewer restrictions. You can ship anything from dry goods to vehicles as long as they suit the mode of shipment and container size that you select.

Despite this, however, you should be aware of the prohibited goods for import in Malaysia, as well as restricted goods that require additional licenses or permits.

Prohibited Goods for Import in Malaysia

Malaysia may prohibit the import of certain goods, such as dairy, sugar, and poultry for certain periods of time as long as the country still has a sufficient supply of these resources. These prohibitions do not apply all year round, so it’s important to do your research on whether or not they are in place at the time you’re looking to ship to Malaysia.

Restricted Goods for Import in Malaysia

Some types of goods require additional licenses or certifications before they can be imported. These include:

  • Animal products or meat
  • Agricultural products
  • Chemicals
  • Foodstuffs
  • Heavy equipment
  • Iron products
  • Plants
  • Vehicles

How long does it take to ship a container to Malaysia?

Ocean freight can take longer to get your parcel to Malaysia, considering that there are many factors affecting transit time. Some of these include your ocean freight service option (whether LCL or FCL), the distance between your port of origin and Malaysia, and if the ship is direct or has multiple stops.

It can take anywhere from one to 52 days for your cargo to arrive in Malaysia. Below are estimated shipping durations based on the country of origin.

America to Malaysia

  • Brazil - 23 to 25 days
  • Canada - 30 to 52 days
  • United States - 22 to 49 days

Europe to Malaysia

  • Belgium - 20 to 21 days
  • Croatia - 27 to 33 days
  • Denmark - 35 to 46 days
  • Finland - 40 to 47 days
  • France - 24 to 28 days
  • Germany - 23 to 30 days
  • Greece - 14 to 22 days
  • Ireland - 37 days
  • Italy - 24 to 27 days
  • Lithuania - 41 to 47 days
  • Netherlands - 28 to 35 days
  • Norway - 41 days
  • Poland - 37 to 42 days
  • Portugal - 38 days
  • Russia - 18 days
  • Slovenia - 21 to 46 days
  • Spain - 29 to 42 days
  • Sweden - 35 to 44 days
  • Ukraine - 26 to 34 days
  • United Kingdom - 24 to 40 days

Asia and Oceania to Malaysia

  • Australia - 11 to 19 days
  • Bangladesh - 4 to 5 days
  • China - 4 to 19 days
  • Hong Kong - 6 to 11 days
  • Indonesia - 1 to 4 days
  • India - 4 to 9 days
  • Japan - 10 to 20 days
  • New Zealand - 18 to 28 days
  • Pakistan - 10 days
  • Philippines - 10 to 14 days
  • Singapore - 1 to 11 days
  • Sri Lanka - 4 days
  • South Korea - 8 to 19 days
  • Taiwan - 7 to 11 days
  • Thailand - 2 to 4 days
  • Vietnam - 2 to 6 days

What container capacity do I need for my cargo?

Ocean freight containers come in 20-foot to 40-foot standard sizes. If you ship via LCL, it’s recommended that your goods do not occupy more than half of the container. Otherwise, it may be more cost-efficient to ship via FCL. But in general, LCL is a good option for goods with a volume of up to 15 CBM.

For goods that have a higher volume, we recommend comparing the prices of LCL and FCL to see which one is more economical for you. FCL shipping can accommodate small to large cargo so you can ship any size or weight of goods.

Which mode of ocean shipping should I choose, FCL, LCL, or Break Bulk?

Which mode of ocean freight you should select would depend on your unique priorities and needs. Here are some pointers to keep in mind.

Less Than Container Load (LCL) Shipping to Malaysia

You should go for LCL shipping if:

  • You are shipping in small quantities
  • Your goods are small in size
  • Your cargo can be shipped with other consignments
  • Your cargo is not fragile or delicate
  • Your cargo is not needed rapidly

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping to Malaysia

FCL shipping is a better choice for you if:

  • Your goods are large, bulky, and heavy
  • You are shipping in large quantities
  • Your goods are fragile
  • Your goods cannot be consolidated and should be shipped in isolation
  • Your goods are rapidly needed

Break Bulk

If your cargo does not fit a standard container, your freight forwarder may recommend break bulk shipping. Your goods will be shipped individually and can be included in several different containers.

Customs Clearance in Malaysia

Malaysia gives shippers the convenience of filing their declarations online through the uCustoms feature provided by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. This makes it easier to send in the documents and paperwork needed for customs clearance once your container arrives in Malaysia.

You will need to prepare these documents when you register your import declaration online:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit/ other payment terms depending on the contract between the parties
  • Packing list
  • Certificates of origin
  • Import licenses
  • Bill of lading or airway bill, which will be provided by Shipa Freight

For examples of these paperwork, check out our full documents list.

Which Incoterms would be the right choice for my shipment?

Incoterms dictate your responsibilities as a seller during the shipping process. Knowing the right Incoterms can help protect you and your buyer from risks and liabilities.

Best Incoterms for Exporters

CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller must bring the goods to the agreed destination and carry out a contract of carriage. The seller is liable until the goods have been handed to the carrier.

CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): Similar responsibilities as CPT, but with the added requirement on the seller’s part to obtain insurance.

DAP (Delivered At Place): The seller should deliver the goods to the buyer’s selected location and is responsible for the majority of the shipping process.

DDP (Delivery Duty Paid): The seller is responsible from the beginning to the end of the shipping process. This leaves the buyer with minimal responsibilities.

FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs.

Best Incoterms for Importers

FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs.

EXW (Ex Works): More responsibility is put on the buyer’s part, from picking up the goods at the seller’s premises or warehouse to arranging transport.

Processes to follow to ship a container to Malaysia

  1. Engage a freight forwarder: Freight forwarders can help make your shipping experience easier and stress-free with their knowledge on international import and export regulations and their many services specifically for importers and exporters.
  2. Consolidation: LCL goods are consolidated with consignments from other exporters to fill an entire container.
  3. Fumigation: The containers are fumigated to get rid of pests, insects, and other harmful organisms.
  4. Deconsolidation: LCL goods are deconsolidated upon arriving in the port of destination.
  5. Customs Clearance: Customs authorities in Malaysia will clear your goods for import. With the right and complete documents, this can be a quick and easy process.
  6. Pick Up or Delivery: Your cargo is ready for pickup or will be delivered, depending on the service you have selected.

Main container ports of arrival in Malaysia

Port Klang

Port Klang is the largest and busiest port in Malaysia and ranked eleventh in the list of busiest container ports globally. It is well-known as a top location for aluminium stock and metal exchange. Port Klang serves the small town of Klang and the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Owned By: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd Annual Container Volume: > 13.5 million TEUs UN/LOCODE: MYKLA

Tanjung Pelepas

The Port of Tanjung Pelepas is located in Johor, Malaysia, particularly in Iskandar Puteri. It holds the country’s most advanced container terminal. Its strategic location the Straits of Johor makes it a direct competitor of the Port of Singapore.

Owned By: APM Terminals Global Terminal Network Annual Container Volume: > 12.5 million TEUs UN/LOCODE: MYTPP


The Port of Penang is located in the Malaysian state of Penang and has terminals spanning the Penang Strait and reaching Seberang Perai and George Town. It was hailed as the third busiest port in Malaysia in the year 2017 and is the main transshipment and harbor hub in Northern Malaysia.

Owned By: MMC Corporation Berhad Annual Container Volume: > 1.52 million TEUs UN/LOCODE: MYNTL

Why Ship a Container to Malaysia With Shipa Freight?

Whether you are shipping to Malaysia or in other parts of the world, you can rely on Shipa Freight, a digital-first freight forwarder that offers all the functions of freight service but with the convenience of modern technology. We offer a fully digital platform that enables shippers to conduct a vast array of activities related to their shipment, including:

  • Online freight quotes
  • Booking
  • Shipment managing
  • Tracking your shipment
  • Payment
  • Access to 24/7 customer support
  • And more

Get started with an easy and hassle-free shipping experience. Request a quote from us today.

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