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Ocean and Air Shipping From China to Thailand

Information and quote from China to Thailand for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Updated on 16 Feb 202212 min read

Importing from China to Thailand has traditionally centered on computer components, consumer electronics, clothing, and machinery. Perhaps your business is seeking an easier way to ship such goods, or maybe you have completely different products to export from China to Thailand?

We understand that international air and ocean freight shipping is not an easy undertaking for any business. That’s why we have created this page. Here, you will find vital information about different shipping methods, costs, transit times, customs clearance procedures, and ports.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From China to Thailand?

Boy and girl jumping in the air and doing high five, adjacent to globes bearing flag motifs of China and Thailand

You have the choice between sea freight and air freight for importing from China to Thailand. Both alternatives offer specific pros and cons, which we will discuss subsequently.

Ocean Freight From China to Thailand

Less than Container Load (LCL): When you book LCL shipping, your freight travels in a shared container, together with the cargo of other shippers. This is a great option if you don’t want to shoulder the price of a full container. LCL is often the most affordable way to import smaller consignments from China to Thailand.

Full Container Load (FCL): When you book FCL shipping, you’ll pay for the use and transportation of an entire container from China to Thailand. For shipments with a high volume and/or weight, this might prove less costly than LCL in terms of shipping cost-per-unit.

Air Freight From China to Thailand

Air shipping will surely get your goods to Thailand the fastest. But, in most cases, it is also the most expensive option.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From China to Thailand?

A freight forwarder can provide you with a quote for ocean and air shipping from China to Thailand. You will receive a price that takes into account:

  • The nature of the goods you wish to ship
  • Your preference of air shipping or ocean freight
  • The dimensions, weight, and volume of your goods
  • Whether you want a port-to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port or door-to-door service

As a guide, freight weighing under 100kg is usually just as cost-effectively sent by air freight as ocean shipping. Above that weight, air shipments start offering less value for money than sea freight.

Shipa Freight’s services are not available for consignments that weigh under 35kg. For shipments of this weight or below, we recommend you engage an express courier service.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From China to Thailand?

Shipping by air freight from China to Thailand takes between four and eight days, depending on your choice of departure airport and the size and nature of your shipment. Ocean freight shipping is a slower process, with extra logistics required for LCL in particular. So you should allow between ten and 27 days for your consignment to reach port in Bangkok or Laem Chebang.

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

Ocean shipping from China to Thailand can be as fast as ten days or take as long as 31 days as the examples below show:

  • Shanghai to Bangkok – 14 days LCL
  • Guangzhou to Bangkok – 12 days FCL, 13 days LCL
  • Wuhu to Bangkok – 21 days LCL
  • Shenzhen to Bangkok – 20 days FCL
  • Ningbo to Bangkok – 31 days FCL, 15 days LCL
  • Chongqing to Bangkok – 27 days FCL, 17 days LCL
  • Huangpu to Bangkok – 14 days FCL and LCL
  • Jiangmen to Bangkok - 14 days LCL
  • Dalian to Laem Chabang - 17 days FCL
  • Shekou to Bangkok - 6 days FCL
  • Shekou to Laem Chabang - 12 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From China to Thailand?

Got an urgent deadline? Air shipping from China to Thailand is the quickest way to satisfy those demanding customers of yours in Thailand. A freight forwarder can get your freight to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport in four days from Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Chengdu, or eight days from Wuhan, Guangzhou or Beijing.

Customs Clearance in China and Thailand

Containers in the customs clearance zone as Shipa Freight helps with customs clearance

Which customs rules and regulations apply to your shipment from China to Thailand? What paperwork will be required to ensure your consignment clears customs checks at its port of origin and arrival? These are complicated questions that a freight forwarder can answer quickly.

You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle when you engage an expert to handle the customs clearance process for you.

Here are the documents that you’ll require as a minimum:

  1. Commercial Invoice

  2. Packing List

  3. Certificate of Origin

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

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

Need further details about these documents? We’ve collated useful information on this handy shipping and customs documentation page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Most commercial shippers choose sea freight to transport their commodities. Your products will be transported by maritime carrier in a shipping container from China to Thailand aboard a cargo vessel.

If you want to transport cargo that isn’t suitable for containerized shipping, your carrier or freight forwarder can offer alternatives. Break-bulk shipping, for example, might be a better option. For the purpose of this page, we’ll explain the two options for containerized ocean shipping: LCL and FCL. Both are available as port-to-port or door-to-door services.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Think of LCL (which stands for less-than-container-load) as a bit like sharing a cab with other passengers. You’re all heading in the same direction and you’ve decided to share the available space to cut costs. With LCL, your cargo shares container space with other goods being shipped by other companies using the same trade lane.

Businesses tend to choose LCL when they have a small shipment to import from China to Thailand. It’s slower than air freight but cheaper. You should factor-in extra time in China for your goods to be consolidated with others, and again in Thailand when de-consolidation occurs.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

The first thing to know about sending ocean freight from China to Thailand by FCL (full container load) is that, despite the name, you don’t have to fill a container. While it makes financial sense to load as much product into a 20ft or 40ft container as you can, when you book FCL, you get a container exclusively for your goods, so you can load as little or as much as you like.

Unlike LCL, when sending a full shipping container from China to Thailand, you can seal your container at your manufacturing hub and it will stay closed until it’s opened at your arrival destination (unless customs officials intervene). The FCL process entails less handling than LCL, so there’s less risk of damage to your goods, and no waiting or paying for consolidation and deconsolidation.

Air Freight

If your consignment is small and suitable for carriage in the hold of a cargo or passenger plane, air shipping is usually just as cost-efficient as ocean freight, and always faster. Of course, you can ship bigger loads in multiple pallets by air freight but you should expect to pay more than you would to send a similar load as ocean freight.

Air shipping is surely the quickest way to get goods to their destination in Thailand. But the speed of air shipping isn’t its only advantage over ocean freight:

  • Less transit time and less handling make it ideal for perishable and delicate cargo.
  • Airport and airline security is tighter than ocean shipping.
  • It can be nearly as economical as sea freight if you’re sending a small load.
  • Insurance quotes are usually lower.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


Port Facts:

  • The world’s largest container port.
  • Recognized as the world’s best-connected port in 2019.
  • Attractive port of origin for shipments to Thailand.

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >40 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Deepest inland port in China that’s accessible to foreign traders.
  • Has 181 production berths at a facility divided into eight areas.
  • Spans the shores of three rivers – the Wujiang, Yangtze, and Jialing.

Owned By: People’s Republic of China.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • One of China’s smaller ports in both size and container throughput.
  • Worth considering if your supply chain moves goods from locations in Anhui Province.
  • Located in the center of China’s rice trade and a burgeoning manufacturing hub.

Owned By: Wuhu Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Offers sophisticated container-handling processes and systems.
  • Top choice as a port of origin for your consignment to Thailand.
  • Fast vessel turnaround times.
  • Strong road and rail links.

Owned By: Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Co. Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >26 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • South China’s largest comprehensive port.
  • Extends along the coast of the Pearl River.
  • The region’s buoyant economy has seen international container exports boom in recent years.
  • Vital economic transport center in the region, serving neighboring Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces as well as Guangdong Province.

Owned By: Guangzhou Port Group.

Annual Container Volume: >21.9 million TEUs.


Other Ports in China

In addition to the ports above, Shipa Freight can organize the export of freight from China to Thailand via these gateways:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Shantou
  • Xiamen
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Qingdao
  • Dalian
  • Shenzhen
  • Lianyungang

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Thailand


Port Facts:

  • Also known as Khlong Toei Port because of the district it’s located in.
  • Serves the Thai capital city of Bangkok.
  • Ranked one of the world’s top-100 container ports.
  • Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
  • Enjoys excellent road and rail connections to Bangkok City.

Owned By: Port Authority of Thailand.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.


Laem Chebang

Port Facts:

  • Thailand’s largest port and the 22nd-busiest container port in the world.
  • Deep sea port built in the 1990s to relieve pressure on Bangkok..
  • Situated 25km north of Pattaya.
  • Has seven container terminals plus a general cargo terminal.

Owned By: Hutchison Laem Chebang International Terminal Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in China


Airport Facts:

  • Located on the shores of the Taiwan Strait, 50 kilometers from Fuzhou City.
  • In-demand international airport with big expansion plans in the pipeline.
  • Is a choice airport of origin for cargo flights to Thailand and beyond.
  • A second runway has been approved for construction, along with eight more cargo aircraft stands to increase carrier capacity.

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

Fuzhou to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Processed over 600,000 tonnes of freight in 2018.
  • China’s fifth-busiest airport.
  • Ideal for any supplier based in Sichuan Province.

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

Chengdu to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Goods manufactured anywhere in China can be routed to Thailand via Beijing-Capital.
  • Strong road and rail links attract all kinds of international shippers.
  • Two million tonnes of cargo passed through these freight terminals in 2018.

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

Beijing-Capital to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • World’s third-busiest cargo hub.
  • State-of-the-art freight-handling facilities.
  • Excellent road and rail connections that serve the facility.
  • Processed 3.7 million tonnes of freight in 2018.

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

Shanghai-Pudong to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: China Cargo Airlines, Qantas Cargo, Saudia Cargo, Supama Airlines.



Airport Facts:

  • Handles over 220,000 tonnes of air freight annually.
  • Serves the capital of Hubei Province.
  • Choose this central China airport if your supplier isn’t close to a seaport.

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

Wuhan to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in China

In addition to the airports above, Shipa Freight can route your air cargo to Thailand from these airports:

  • Qingdao
  • Xiamen
  • Shenzhen
  • Zhengzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Shanghai Hongqiao

Arrival Airport in Thailand

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

Airport Facts:

  • One of the biggest airports in Southeast Asia.
  • Newest of Bangkok’s two international airports.
  • Located in Racha Thewa in Samut Prakas Province.
  • Handles three million tonnes of air cargo every year.
  • 95 freight airlines use its logistics and cargo-handling facilities.

Connected Airports in China: Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Shanghai-Pudong, Tianjin, Changsha, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Lianyungang, Dalian, Fuzhou.

China to Bangkok Cargo-Only Operators: Cargolux, China Airlines Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, FedEx Express, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Suparna Airlines.


Why Ship From China to Thailand With Shipa Freight?

If you don’t want to take any chances when moving your valuable freight from China to Thailand, book your shipment with us. We are a digital-first, online-only freight forwarder, ready to take care of all of your ocean and air-freight shipping needs.

Let us simplify your supply chain by providing access to our cutting-edge online platform. Now, you can manage your entire shipment process in one place.

Take advantage of these benefits when you ship with us:

  • Obtain and compare quotes online in an instant
  • Book and pay for your shipment directly online without losing time.
  • Always prepare the right shipping documents.
  • Rid yourself of customs complexities – we will take care of them for you.
  • Manage your imports and exports on one platform.
  • Receive help from our friendly customer service team, 24/7.
  • Guaranteed compliance with international shipping rules and regulations.

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Some of the jargon and complicated terminology used by shipping experts can be confusing. To help build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’re explaining some of the confusing terms in common usage on our country-to-country pages. Two examples are below.

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