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Ocean and Air Shipping From Germany to Thailand

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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Updated on 16 Sep 202111 min read

2018 saw record levels of trade between Germany and Thailand, totaling $12.5 billion. Over $5 billion was exported from the European country to its partner in Southeast Asia.

Was your business among those contributing to that record year, or is it a start-up looking to export from Germany to Thailand for the first time?

Either way, you are likely to find the information on this page useful. You’ll find details about ocean and air shipping from Germany to Thailand, shipping costs and transit times—and you can discover more about airports and seaports in both countries.

Know Your Options for Shipping Freight From Germany to Thailand

Warehouse operative in orange pushing a trolley, stacked with boxes, from the Flag of Germany towards the flag of Thailand

The two most viable ways of transporting freight from Germany to Thailand are by air or sea. Each mode of transportation has advantages and disadvantages that you need to know when deciding which is best for you.

Ocean Freight From Germany to Thailand

Less than Container Load (LCL): With LCL shipping, your goods will share a container with others aboard a cargo vessel. Consolidation of goods will occur in port in Germany and deconsolidation will happen in Thailand. These are extra logistics processes, so LCL shipping can sometimes take longer than FCL.

Full Container Load (FCL): If you don’t want your goods to be shipped in a shared container from Germany to Thailand, choose FCL shipping. With FCL, you can load as much or as little freight into your container as you desire. That said, commercial sense dictates that you should load as much as you can.

Air Freight from Germany to Thailand

For consignments requiring urgent export from Germany to Thailand, air freight should be your first choice. Keep in mind though, that air shipping is significantly more expensive than ocean shipping.

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

Calculator to represent the cost of Shipa Freight’s quotes

Your freight forwarder will work out the price for shipping after receiving information about your goods. Your forwarder will need to know if you’re looking for air or ocean shipping, and the ports of origin and arrival you want to use.

Details of the type of cargo you want to send will also be required, including its weight, volume, and dimensions. Your forwarder will wish to know if you want your goods shipped port to port, door to door, port to door, or door to port.

If your cargo weighs over 100kg, sea freight is invariably the most economical method of shipping. For a total weight of under 100kg, air freight is worth considering. It can be almost as economical as ocean freight for shipping in this weight bracket. Shipa Freight does not quote for shipments weighing under 35kg.

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

With over 8,500 kilometers between Germany and Thailand, ocean shipping is a long haul. It can take a carrier between 33 and 45 days to steam your goods over such a great distance, depending on your choice of ports and FCL or LCL shipping. Flying goods is much faster, with shipments typically completed in three to five days.

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

Here are a few examples of shipping durations for ocean freight from Germany to Thailand:

  • Bremerhaven to Bangkok—38 days LCL, 45 days FCL
  • Hamburg to Bangkok—39 days FCL
  • Hamburg to Laem Chabang—33 days FCL

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

Air freight transit times between airports in Germany and Thailand are typically less than one week, including the time necessary for consolidation and customs clearance. Shipments to Bangkok from Dusseldorf, Hamburg, and Munich complete in four days, and Frankfurt within five days.

Customs Clearance in Germany and Thailand

Customs formalities are mandatory when you’re importing from Germany to Thailand. However, the hassle and complexity can be avoided by hiring a freight forwarder. These experts will ensure your goods for import from Germany to Thailand comply with regulations in both territories and remove the chances of incorrect documentation delaying your shipment.

While a freight forwarder can take much of the customs clearance workload off of your hands, you will still have to complete some tasks involved in the process. For example, you will need to complete essential paperwork that must accompany your shipment. The documents customs officials typically require are:

  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)

You may also be obliged to provide additional paperwork, such as a certificate, permit, or license. If you wish to look at examples of the documents featured in the list above, please visit our handy [documents list] ( page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Over 8,600km separates the two countries as the crow flies. Ocean carriers must use even longer routes to ship sea freight from Germany to Thailand. Ocean shipping typically takes 38 days from Bremen or Hamburg to the port in Bangkok or Laem Chabang.

When you choose to have a cargo vessel transport your freight in a shipping container from Germany to Thailand, most forwarders will recommend either Hamburg or Bremerhaven as the best port of origin for your sea freight.

Most cargo can safely ship in a 20 ft or 40 ft standard container. The smaller of the two can accommodate 10 to 11 standard pallets. 40 ft containers have room for up to 21 such pallets.

Your forwarder will inform you if your goods require another type of container. They will also help you decide between LCL and FCL ocean shipping. So let’s take a look at both:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

  • Opting for less-than-container-load shipping is likely to be best for you if:
  • Your consignment is small—occupying no more than six pallets
  • Your consignee in Thailand doesn’t need the cargo urgently
  • Your freight is suited to shipping in a shared container
  • You don’t want to have to choose the right container size or type
  • Air freight isn’t an option you can consider

As all {LCL freight}( has to be consolidated at the port in Germany and deconsolidated in Thailand, shippers should appreciate that these additional logistics often mean LCL takes longer than FCL shipping.

LCL might not be the best shipping option for your consignment if:

  • Your goods are high-value, fragile or perishable
  • Your freight could be damaged if moved or handled regularly
  • Your delivery date is set in stone, so you cannot entertain shipping delays
  • Your freight is too large or awkwardly-shaped to share a container

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Full-container-load ocean shipping is likely to the best option for your consignment if:

  • It’s required in Thailand by a specified date
  • It’s large enough to be cost-effective to pay for the exclusive use of a shipping container
  • Your goods are too fragile or awkwardly-shaped to safely share a shipping container
  • You can load and seal your freight in a container in Germany and want it to remain sealed until reaching Thailand

Air Freight

You should seriously consider air shipping from Germany to Thailand if:

  • The products you’re shipping are fragile or perishable
  • You freight needs to reach Thailand quickly
  • You can afford the price of air shipping
  • Your cargo can be safely shipped in the hold of an aircraft
  • Your supplier in Germany and recipient in Thailand are based near to international airports
  • Your cargo is high-value, requiring the stringent security protocols employed by airlines and airport operators

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany


Port Facts

  • Located at the mouth of the River Weser
  • Rated Europe’s fourth-busiest containerized goods port in 2019
  • Infrastructure includes four terminals from which to export from Germany to Thailand

Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Annual Container Volume: >5.5 million TEUs.



Port Facts

  • Europe’s third-biggest container port is Germany’s largest
  • Four container terminals use state-of-the-art technology to ensure the swift throughput of goods

Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Thailand


Port Facts

  • Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River
  • Also known as Khlong Toei
  • Well-connected by roads and railroads to the huge city that shares its name
  • One of the world’s top-100 busiest container port

Owned By: Port Authority of Thailand.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.


Laem Chebang

Port Facts

  • Developed in the 1990s as an alternative to the Port of Bangkok
  • Located 25 kilometers north of Pattaya
  • Recently overtook Bangkok to become Thailand’s largest port
  • One of the top-25 busiest container ports in the world
  • Infrastructure includes seven container terminals

Owned By: Hutchison Laem Chebang International Terminal Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Germany


Airport Facts

  • Just seven kilometers from the city center
  • Germany’s third-largest air cargo hub
  • The facility has three cargo terminals with room for wide-body freighters to load and unload
  • Goods destined for Thailand will be shipped using indirect flights to Bangkok
  • If your supplier or manufacturer is based in the industrial, commercial, and consumer hinterland around Dusseldorf, this airport is the ideal choice

Thailand Airports Served: None.

Dusseldorf to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Europe’s biggest multimodal cargo handling facility
  • Over two million tonnes of freight pass through the airport every year
  • The 98-hectare Cargo City South handles dispatch service providers
  • The North terminal is the headquarters of Lufthansa Cargo, the airline that operates direct cargo-only flights into Bangkok

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok.

Frankfurt to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo.



Airport Facts

  • Germany’s fourth-busiest cargo airport
  • No direct flights operate between here and Thailand
  • If your supply chain involves the movement of goods through Berlin or other regions in Northern or Eastern Germany, this is a good choice as your airport of origin

Thailand Airports Served: None.

Berlin to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Located 28 kilometers northeast of Munich city center
  • Boasts an 84,000 square meter cargo terminal
  • Germany’s seaports on the North Coast are nearly 790 kilometers away
  • If your goods originate in Southern Germany, air shipping could prove more economical than transporting freight by road or railroad to Bremerhaven or Hamburg

Thailand Airports Served: Bangkok.

Munich to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts

  • Bavaria’s second-busiest airport
  • Located at a point where many of the roads and railroads that criss-cross Germany intersect
  • Facilities include two cargo centers and a single runway
  • A popular airport for businesses from all over Germany
  • Many well-known companies have their headquarters in the area, including Siemens, Adidas, and Puma

Thailand Airports Served: None.

Nuremberg to Thailand Cargo-Only Operators: None.


You can also arrange to fly your freight to Thailand from three other airports in Germany: Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Leipzig.

Airport of Arrival in Bangkok

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

Airport Facts

  • Its name means land of gold
  • One of Southeast Asia’s biggest airports
  • Located in Racha Thewa in Samut Prakan Province
  • The facility opened in 2006
  • Handles three million tonnes of air freight annually

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.

Germany to Bangkok Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo.


Why Ship From Germany to Thailand With Shipa Freight?

The Shipa Freight digital platform is simple to understand and easy to use, and your business benefits from easy access to international shipping. Our website generates quick quotes for imports from Germany to Thailand. You can book and pay online too, and track your shipments from origin to destination.

Shipa Freight also gives you the benefit of access to the expertise of worldwide shipping specialists and the extensive logistics assets of our parent company, Agility Logistics. The sometimes-confusing world of customs clearance is made clear thanks to our smart compliance software and knowledgeable team of import/export specialists.

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