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Ocean & Air Freight Shipping to Thailand

Shipa Freight, air cargo and cargo ship for freight to Thailand

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Updated on 16 Sep 202111 min read

Among Thailand’s top imported goods are integrated circuits, gold, smartphones, car parts, and computers. If you have commercial goods to export to Thailand, this page will be of use to you. It contains information and guidance that will help make shipping easier for your business.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight to Thailand?

Flag of Thailand to show Shipa Freight capacity to ship to Thailand

Bangkok is the focus for much of the arriving ocean and air freight to Thailand. The capital city has both an airport and a seaport. Thailand’s biggest coastal port in Laem Chabang will also be used by many freight forwarders and carriers as a port of arrival.

Ocean Freight to Thailand

Less than Container Load (LCL): Your consignment to Thailand can be shipped in a shared container. This mode of ocean shipping is popular with businesses with smaller loads to ship, especially if their goods aren’t permitted as air cargo for safety reasons.

Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL shipping, you pay for the use and carriage of a container exclusively for your products. This can be partially or fully loaded with your products and sealed before export to Thailand. It’s often the quickest way to ship sea freight.

Air Freight to Thailand

For the fastest way to transport goods to Thailand, choose air freight. Many freight forwarders recommend Bangkok Suvarnabhumi as the destination airport for imports headed to all regions in the country. Cargo-only services, passenger flights or both may be used to ship your goods to Thailand. Air freight represents the most expensive form of international shipping.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo to Thailand?

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To calculate a quote for your consignment, your freight forwarder will take into account the following aspects of your shipment:

  • The type of goods that need to be transported to Thailand
  • Your chosen mode of transportation—air, FCL ocean, or LCL ocean shipping
  • The volume and weight of your freight
  • The distance your goods need to be shipped
  • Whether you want a door-to-port, port-to-door, port-to-port, or door-to-door delivery service

The weight of your consignment doesn’t just have an impact on the shipping rates you pay—it can also affect the mode of shipping you choose.

If your goods tip the scales above 100 kg, ocean shipping commonly proves to be the most cost-efficient option.

If your consignment is under 100 kg, the price difference between air and ocean freight is likely to be negligible, so choose whichever method best suits your needs.

If your goods are 35 kg or lighter, you should approach an international courier for a quote. Shipa Freight, like most freight forwarders, focuses on larger consignments.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo to Thailand?

Shipping durations to Thailand will depend on how far your goods need to travel. Generally speaking, air freight shipping to Bangkok from any major international airport in the world takes between one and eight days. That will include loading and flight times as well as customs clearance both at your port of origin and in Thailand.

Using an ocean freight carrier to ship your goods to Thailand will mean a longer shipping time. Again, the distance from the port of origin to Thailand has a major impact. Shipments from ports in Asia, such as Chennai, Jakarta, and those in China can complete in 12 to 17 days in most cases.

If you are transporting goods from Europe, you can expect shipments to take significantly longer—it’s 39 days from Hamburg, for example. It’s longer still from North American seaports, with up to 41 days required for shipments from Atlanta to reach Thailand.

All ocean transit times will be impacted by your choice of FCL or LCL shipping—terms we’ll explain elsewhere on this page.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea to Thailand?

Here are some examples of ocean freight shipping durations to Thailand from ports around the world:

Country of Origin Port of Origin Destination Port Transit Time LCL Transit Time FCL
Australia Brisbane Bangkok 26 Days
Australia Sydney Bangkok 33 Days 29 Days
China Guangzhou Bangkok 13 Days 12 Days
China Chongqing Bangkok 17 Days 27 Days
China  Dalian Laem Chabang 17 Days
China Huangpu Bangkok 14 Days 15 Days
China Jiangmen Bangkok 14 Days
China Ningbo Bangkok 15 Days 31 Days
China Shanghai Bangkok 15 Days
China Shekou Bangkok 8 Days
China Shekou Laem Chabang 12 Days
China Shenzhen Bangkok 23 Days
China  Wuhu Bangkok 21 Days
Germany Bremerhaven Bangkok 38 Days 45 Days
Germany Hamburg Laem Chabang 33 Days
Germany Hamburg Bangkok 39 Days
India Kolkata Bangkok 16 Days
India Kolkata Laem Chabang 16 Days
India Chennai Bangkok 15 Days
India Chennai Laem Chabang 19 Days
India Mundra Bangkok 18 Days
India Mundra Laem Chabang 21 Days
India Nhava Sheva Laem Chabang 15 Days
India Nhava Sheva Bangkok 23 Days 16 Days
Indonesia Belawan Bangkok 12 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Bangkok 11 Days 14 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Laem Chabang 21 Days
Indonesia Semarang Bangkok 32 Days 32 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Bangkok 14 Days 21 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Laem Chabang 21 Days
Japan Tokyo Bangkok 13 Days
Japan Yokohama Laem Chabang 16 Days
Japan Yokohama Bangkok 21 Days
Philippines Manila Bangkok 20 Days 14 Days
Philippines Manila Laem Chabang 21 Days
Singapore Singapore Bangkok 6 Days 12 Days
Taiwan Kaohsiung Bangkok 14 Days
United Kingdom Southampton Laem Chabang 24 Days
USA Atlanta Bangkok 41 Days
USA Atlanta Laem Chabang 41 Days
USA Long Beach Bangkok 35 Days
USA Los Angeles Bangkok 38 Days 38 Days
USA New York Bangkok 33 Days 33 Days
USA New York Laem Chabang 42 Days
USA Seattle Bangkok 44 Days 44 Days
USA Houston Bangkok 44 Days 44 Days
USA Philadelphia Bangkok 58 Days 58 Days

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea to Thailand?

Between one and eight days is the time required for air shipments to reach Thailand from the majority of the world’s international airports. And this table of sample shipment durations provides the evidence:

Country of Origin Airport of Origin Destination Airport Transit Time
Australia Adelaide Bangkok 5 Days
Australia Sydney Bangkok 7 Days
China Beijing Bangkok 8 Days
China Chengdu Bangkok 4 Days
China Guangzhou Bangkok 8 Days
China Shanghai Bangkok 4 Days
China Shenzhen Bangkok 4 Days
China Wuhan Bangkok 8 Days
Germany Dusseldorf Bangkok 4 Days
Germany Hamburg Bangkok 4 Days
Germany Frankfurt Bangkok 5 Days
Germany  Munich Bangkok 4 Days
Hong Kong Hong Kong Bangkok 1 Day
India Ahmedabad Bangkok 8 Days
India Delhi Bangkok 7 Days
India Mumbai Bangkok 7 Days
India Kolkata Bangkok 7 Days
India Chennai Bangkok 3 Days
Indonesia Denpasar Bangkok 4 Days
Indonesia Jakarta Bangkok 3 Days
Indonesia Surabaya Bangkok 4 Days
Italy Milan Bangkok 8 Days
Japan Tokyo Bangkok 4 Days
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Bangkok 5 Days
New Zealand Auckland Bangkok 3 Days
Oman Muscat Bangkok 3 Days
Singapore Singapore Bangkok 2 Days
South Korea Seoul Bangkok 3 Days
Taiwan Taipei Bangkok 2 Days
UAE Dubai Bangkok 4 Days
United Kingdom Birmingham Bangkok 3 Days
United Kingdom Glasgow Bangkok 2 Days
United Kingdom London Heathrow Bangkok 3 Days
USA Los Angeles Bangkok 3 Days
USA Chicago Bangkok 5 Days
USA Atlanta Bangkok 4 Days
USA Philadelphia Bangkok 5 Days
USA New York Bangkok 8 Days
USA Cincinnati Bangkok 8 Days
USA Denver Bangkok 8 Days
USA Seattle Bangkok 8 Days
USA Houston Bangkok 8 Days

Import Customs Clearance in Thailand

All commodities shipped to Thailand must comply with local and international shipping regulations. Many of these rules are complicated, which explains why plenty of businesses hire freight forwarders to manage the task. It’s an option your business should consider.

The expertise of a forwarder can help you avoid unnecessary delays to your shipment, and ensure compliance with customs rules and regulations in Thailand.

Even when you work with a freight forwarder, you will still be required to submit documents with your consignment. Thai customs officials and those at your port of origin will insist upon seeing the following:

  1. A Commercial Invoice

  2. A Packing List

  3. A Certificate of Origin

  4. A Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)

  5. A Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Additional documents may be required with your consignment, such as a permit, license, or certificate. Either way, examples of the primary documents, as listed above, are available for you to take a look at on this handy documents list page we’ve compiled.

Ship Ocean Freight to Thailand: FCL or LCL?

You have to choose between FCL and LCL when shipping ocean freight to Thailand. Whichever you choose, your consignment is likely to be shipped in a 20ft or 40ft container aboard a cargo vessel.

If you want exclusive use of a container for your goods, you should choose FCL shipping. If you don’t mind your goods being transported in a container shared with other products (and your consignment is relatively small), an LCL service should suit you fine. We outline the pros and cons of both forms of shipping below.

Less Than Container Load (LCL) Shipping to Thailand

This will be a good choice for your Thailand-bound cargo if any or all of the following apply:

  • It’s a relatively small shipment
  • Your goods aren’t urgently required in Thailand
  • Your consignment is too large to be shipped aboard an aircraft
  • Your freight is not permitted as air cargo for safety reasons
  • You’re OK with your products occupying the same container as goods belonging to other shippers

While many businesses find LCL the most cost-effective way to ship to Thailand, there are some downsides. For example, you cannot choose which goods your cargo shares a shipping container with, and consolidation and deconsolidation are logistics necessities for all LCL shipments. This can cause LCL to take longer than FCL, which might not fit in with your deadlines.

Other situations in which LCL might not be the best option for your business include:

  • If you are shipping very or fragile freight
  • You have goods that might be damaged by frequent moving and handling
  • You cannot countenance any delays to your shipping
  • You want to send a consignment that’s too large to share a container
  • Your goods have a short shelf-life and might not arrive in great condition after a long voyage

Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping to Thailand

If LCL shipping doesn’t suit your needs, you’ll need to opt for FCL. This mode of shipping is best for:

  • Goods that are required in Thailand by a specific date
  • Shippers who want to seal their container at the point of origin
  • Larger consignments—14 cubic meters or more
  • Freight that is either delicate or heavy and not suited to being shipped alongside other products in the same container

Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Thailand


Port Facts: 

  • An inland port situated on the Chao Phraya River
  • It’s known locally as Khlong Toei Port
  • Ranked in the world’s top-100 busiest container ports
  • There are two container terminals, both located at the East Quay
  • Easy access from the port to Thailand’s road and railroad systems
  • An ideal port of arrival for goods to be distributed in Watthana, Suan Luang, Bang Kapi District, Chatuchak, and Min Buri

Owned By: Port Authority of Thailand.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.


Laem Chebang

Port Facts:

  • Opened in 1991 as an alternative to the Port of Bangkok, 130 kilometers away
  • Located on Thailand’s east coast in Chonburi province
  • Features the most advanced container terminal in the country
  • The port is close to Pattaya City, Surasak, Nong Kham, and Chonburi
  • Future developments should see the port expand its annual cargo handling capacity to eight million TEUs

Owned By: Hutchison Laem Chebang International Terminal Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Air Shipping for Your Freight to Thailand

If the speed of transit is more of a concern to your business than cost, air freight is likely to be your best option. Other situations in which businesses consider air shipping include:

  • When they are transporting fragile cargo
  • When their freight is perishable
  • When their goods are urgently required by the consignee
  • When their consignment is small—three pallets at most
  • When their consignee in Thailand is situated closer to an international airport than a seaport
  • When they are shipping high-value goods and require tight security

Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Airport of Arrival in Thailand

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (IATA Code: BKK)

Airport Facts:

  • Among the biggest air cargo facilities in Southeast Asia
  • Located 30 kilometers east of Bangkok in Samut Prakan Province
  • Plays host to domestic and international cargo traffic from over 40 airlines
  • Facilities include two runways, the longest stretching for 4,000 meters
  • Over three million tonnes of air cargo is processed here every year
  • The name ‘Suvarnabhumi’ means ‘The Golden Land’, a traditional name for the region

Ocean and Air Shipping to Thailand: Why Choose Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight is the easy way to ship commodities from anywhere in the world to Thailand. Our website brings long-overdue ease and convenience to the sometimes complex world of international shipping.

You can get quick quotes and price comparisons, all based on real-time shipping rates. Plus you can easily book your shipment to Thailand by air or ocean carrier using your company debit or credit card (we also accept wire transfers).

Other reasons to trust Shipa Freight with all your exports to Thailand include:

  • Visibility of all your your global logistics in one place
  • The expertise of our friendly customer service team
  • We spare you from managing the complexities of customs clearance
  • Your consignment will adhere to all international rules and regulations
  • The right documents, accurately completed, will always accompany your shipments

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