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Ocean and Air Shipping from Germany to Vietnam

FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote

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Updated on 28 Nov 202112 min read

The two nations exchange goods worth 14 billion Euros every year, making Germany a crucial trading partner for Vietnam in the European Union. Trade is likely to increase further thanks to the free trade agreement that the EU and Vietnam signed in mid-2019.

This will surely simplify supply chains for businesses planning to import from Germany to Vietnam. However, international logistics is still a complex undertaking.

Our aim is to make ocean and air shipping from Germany to Vietnam as easy and straightforward as possible for your business. For this reason, we have compiled vital information regarding different shipping methods, costs, transit times, and customs clearance procedures, right here on this page.

What Are Your Options for Shipping From Germany to Vietnam?

When you export from Germany to Vietnam, you have two options: air freight and sea freight. Either alternative has certain pros and cons, which we will cover subsequently.

Ocean Freight From Germany to Vietnam

Less than Container Load (LCL): With LCL shipping, your freight will be allotted space in a shared container that also carries shipments of other businesses. This also means that you only have to pay for the space that your cargo occupies, not the entire container. That makes LCL shipping often the most affordable option for exporting small consignments from Germany to Vietnam.

Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL shipping, you purchase the use and transportation of a shipping container from Germany to Vietnam at a flat rate. Depending on the volume and weight of your goods, this might be less costly than LCL.

Air Freight from Germany to Vietnam

If speed is your top priority, air freight is the best way to move your cargo to Vietnam, but be prepared to pay a premium price for this fast service.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Freight From Germany to Vietnam?

The final price for importing from Germany to Vietnam hinges on several factors. When requesting a quotation from a freight forwarders, you will need to provide the following information:

  • The nature of your cargo
  • Your preferred mode of transport (e.g., FCL, LCL, Air)
  • The weight of your freight
  • The dimensions of your consignment
  • The port or airport of origin and destination
  • The type of service (for example, Port-to-Port or Door-to-Door)

If you aren’t sure which mode of transport will meet your needs, you can always request quotes for both air and ocean shipping from Germany to Vietnam.

When you compare the two, you will probably notice that the price is very similar if your shipment weighs 100 kg or less. On the other hand, freight exceeding 100 kg will likely travel cheaper by sea than by air.

Do you have cargo of 35 kg or less to ship? If so, you should contact an international courier service. Most freight forwarders, including Shipa Freight, won’t handle a consignment in this weight bracket.

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

Hourglass and a calendar to represent the transit time of shipments with Shipa Freight

It won’t surprise you that your cargo will reach Vietnam faster by air than by sea. With an air freight carrier, your goods can land in Vietnam in just a few days. In contrast, a maritime carrier will take at least a few weeks to make it to Vietnam from Germany.

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

A cargo vessel carrying a container from Germany to Vietnam can take several routes. To give you an idea of the time involved, an FCL shipment from Hamburg to Haiphong will take around 36 days.

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

Here are a few examples of transit times for air freight from Germany to Vietnam:

  • Frankfurt or Hamburg to Hanoi – 5 days
  • Hamburg to Ho Chi Minh City - 4 days
  • Berlin to Ho Chi Minh City – 5 days

Customs Clearance in Germany and Vietnam

En route from Germany to Vietnam, your freight will have to pass customs checks. Export customs clearance procedures in Germany, and import clearance protocols in Vietnam demand that all formalities are completed according to the prevailing laws and regulations.

If importers or exporters make mistakes, they might have to pay additional fees while their cargo is being held up. That’s the reason why most shippers prefer to hire an experienced freight forwarder for this crucial task.

However, even when the customs broker of a freight forwarder acts on your behalf, you still have to provide the necessary documents to start the process. The following paperwork is typically required 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)

In some instances, further documents, such as certificates, permits, and licenses are needed to complete the customs clearance process. If this is the case, your freight forwarder will inform and guide you.

In the meantime, you could head over to our documents list to learn more about the different types of documents involved in importing from Germany to Vietnam.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Most commercial goods travel the long way from Germany to Vietnam via sea, inside a shipping container aboard a ship. Maybe you need to transport sea freight that doesn’t fit into a standard container. If this is the case, the carrier or your freight forwarder can offer break-bulk shipping options.

For the purpose of this page, we will focus on explaining containerized ocean shipping. Both LCL and FCL are available as a port-to-port or door-to-door service. Find out in the next sections which one might be right for your logistics needs.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

As you are only paying for the space that your cargo occupies in the container, LCL is generally the preferable option for shipments of 14 CBM (around six standard pallets) or less. Another advantage is that you don’t have to bother with choosing and loading the container yourself. The freight forwarder or carrier will take care of this.

Still, LCL shipping does have its drawbacks. Consignments belonging to multiple shippers, including your goods are packed together into a container at the port of origin and subsequently unloaded and separated at the port of arrival.

These additional process steps add to the overall transit time and can cause a degree of uncertainty with regard to the delivery date of your freight. The extra handling and movements that your cargo will be subjected to may also harm fragile or perishable products.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL is likely the most affordable choice if your cargo exceeds 14 CBM, which is more than half the capacity of a 20ft container. It’s also a viable option for heavy freight as you pay a flat rate for the whole container.

Since your freight remains fully sealed in the container, FCL shipping is also a great choice for high-value and delicate products. Unless customs authorities decide to inspect the contents of the container, your freight won’t be touched until it arrives at its final destination.

There’s one major drawback associated with FCL shipping, though. It can complicate the loading and delivery of your goods. Your supplier and/or buyer might not have the necessary equipment to handle a shipping container on their premises.

Air Freight

The main benefit of air freight is the speed, making it the best option for urgent shipping. Perishable products with a short shelf-life, too, benefit from short transit times. Furthermore, as airlines and airport operators maintain high security standards, you can fly high-value freight in good conscience. The drawback is that increased speed comes at a price. That’s why most businesses use air shipping only for consignments occupying three pallets or less. Keep in mind that your cargo also has to fit inside the body of an aircraft. This makes ocean shipping the only available option for very bulky or awkwardly shaped freight.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany


Port Facts:

  • Third-busiest container port in Europe.
  • Ranks as one of the 20 busiest ports globally.
  • Strategically located between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
  • Facilities include four container terminals, around 80 cranes, and 22 berths.
  • Connects to Germany’s hinterland via the Elbe river.

Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Fourth-largest container gateway in Europe and sixteenth-largest globally.
  • Located on the river Weser with access to the North Sea.
  • Provides berths for up to 14 large vessels on its five-kilometer quayside.
  • Houses the largest closed container-management area in the world.

Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

Port Facts:

  • 24th-busiest container gateway worldwide and the largest in Vietnam.
  • Commonly known as Saigon Port.
  • Consists of a network of multiple ports on the Saigon river.

Owned By: Saigon Newport Company.

Annual Container Volume: >6 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located close to the city of Haiphong on the river Cam.
  • Main seaport in Vietnam’s north.
  • A deep-water port area opened recently to handle larger vessels.

Owned By: Hai Phong Port Joint Stock Company.

Annual Container Volume: >1.15 million TEUs.


Da Nang

Port Facts:

  • Vietnam’s third-largest port, handling around 2.7 million tonnes of freight annually.
  • Situated in central Vietnam on the river Han with access to the South China Sea.
  • Endpoint of the east-west economic corridor, linking Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Owned By: Danang Port.

Annual Container Volume: >600,000 TEUs.


Vung Tau

Port Facts:

  • One of Vietnam’s critical sea freight hubs.
  • Vung Tau is a group of ports (Cai Mep, Phu My, Dinh River, and Ben Dam).
  • Located in the province of Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu in Vietnam’s southeast.

Owned By: Vung Tau Commercial Port J.S Co.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.


Qui Nhon

Port Facts:

  • Principal port of the Bình Định province.
  • Ideal for importers in Vietnam’s central highlands, Laos, and Cambodia.
  • Connected to international ports via 10 different routes

Owned By: Quy Nhon Port Joint Stock Company.

Annual Container Volume: >130,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Germany


Airport Facts:

  • Busiest air freight gateway in Europe with two million tonnes of cargo processed in 2019.
  • Offers more direct connections than any other airport in the world.
  • Home of German flagship carrier Lufthansa.
  • Offers extensive logistics and maintenance facilities.

Vietnamese Airports Served: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City.

Frankfurt to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: AeroLogic.



Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in Germany.
  • Ideal import gateway for Southern Germany.
  • Located 28.5 km northeast of Munich near the city of Freising.
  • Boasts extensive cargo facilities.

Vietnamese Airports Served: None.

Munich to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Third-largest airport in Germany.
  • Cargo throughput of 75,000 tons in 2018.
  • Located seven kilometers north of downtown Dusseldorf.
  • Ideal import gateway for the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area.

Vietnamese Airports Served: None.

Dusseldorf to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Berlin Brandenburg

Airport Facts:

  • Germany’s newest airport is due to open in late 2020.
  • Will replace Berlin Tegel airport.
  • Expected to handle up to 600,000 tonnes of air freight per year.
  • Excellent road connections to Northern and Eastern Germany.
  • Covers a massive area of 1,470 hectares.

Vietnamese Airports Served: None.

Berlin Brandenburg to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Located 8.5 km to the north of Hamburg’s city center.
  • Fifth-busiest airport in Germany.
  • Boasts an ultra-modern freight-handling facility that can manage 150,000 tons of cargo annually.

Vietnamese Airports Served: None.

Hamburg to Vietnam Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in Germany

In addition to the airports mentioned above, you can also fly your cargo to Vietnam from Stuttgart, Leipzig, or Nuremberg International Airport

Airports of Arrival in Vietnam


Airport Facts:

  • Sits 45 km northeast of Vietnam’s capital city.
  • Known as Noi Bai International Airport.
  • Largest capacity for air shipments in the country.
  • Processed around 700,000 tonnes of freight in 2017.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt.

Germany to Hanoi Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Ho Chi Minh City

Airport Facts:

  • Located six kilometers north of Vietnam’s commercial hub, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Known as Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
  • Busiest air cargo gateway in the country.
  • Handled more than 550,000 tonnes of cargo in 2017.

Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt.

Germany to Ho Chi Minh City Cargo-Only Operators: AeroLogic.


##Why Ship From Germany to Vietnam With Shipa Freight?

Transporting air freight, or even a shipping container from Germany to Vietnam, should be easy and straightforward. We make it so with our digital-first approach to freight forwarding that serves businesses of any size and satisfies all logistics needs.

Our state-of-the-art online platform simplifies your supply chain by allowing you to manage all your imports and exports conveniently in one place.

The following benefits are yours when you ship with us:

  • Fast online quotes and bookings.
  • Assistance with completing and filing the necessary shipping documents.
  • Minimized customs complexity, as we handle most of the requirements on your behalf
  • Your entire shipping workflows in one place.
  • 24/7 support via email, phone, or chat.
  • Assurance that your freight will comply with local and international shipping rules.

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