Thailand is one of the many Asian countries with which France has close commercial ties. It is a country very open to international trade. In 2020, France was Thailand's 8th largest trading partner in exports, while Thailand was France's 2nd largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. The main products exported by Thailand to France are electronic products, vehicles, seafood, and agricultural products.

This guide will help you in your export steps in France from Thailand. You will be able to easily choose the most suitable means of transportation, understand the customs clearance process, and receive valuable advice from our experts at Siam Shipping.

Table of Contents

What is the most suitable method of transport between Thailand and France?

There are 4 modes of transport, air freight, sea freight, road freight, and rail freight. However, in the situation of France to Thailand, the railway modality does not exist, at least not yet, and road freight is really not recommended because of the great distance between the two countries.

Therefore, there are two ways to transport containers from Thailand to France or vice versa, either sea freight or air freight.

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Sea freight from Thailand to France


TOP 5 – Shipping line


Overview – Ocean cargo from Thailand to France

Bilateral relations between France and Thailand 

The commercial relations between France and Thailand are important and have developed over the years. France is one of its main trade partners in Europe. Trade between the two countries is mainly focused on industry, services, tourism, and technology. In 2020, bilateral trade between France and Thailand amounted to about 2.7 billion euros, with a trade deficit for France.

In terms of exports, France mainly exports pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment, machinery, and electrical equipment to Thailand. In return, Thailand exports mainly electronic products, transport equipment, textiles, and food products to France.

Main ports in France

Marseille Fos Port

Marseille Fos Port logoThe port of Marseille Fos is the first port of France, it plays a major role in French international trade. It is a very large port with the latest infrastructure. All kinds of goods can be transported through it.

Additional information:

  • 25 ship calls per day on average
  • 3 million m² of warehouse space

Port of Le Havre

Le Havre Port logoThe port of Le Havre is the second-largest French seaport, its maritime accesses allow it to receive all types of container ships.

  • Additional information:
    1st French port for foreign trade and container traffic
  • 1st French port for energy supply
  • 75 regular shipping lines

Port of Dunkerque

Dunkerque Port logoThe port of Dunkerque is the third-largest French port, often referred to as an industrial port. It has an excellent infrastructure.

Additional information:

  • 1st French port for the import of ores and coal
  • 1st French port for the import of fruit in containers
  • 1st French rail freight hub

Main ports in Thailand 

The Port of Bangkok

Bangkok Port logoThe Port of Bangkok is the largest port in Thailand, located on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. It is connected to the national railway system and has several docks for loading and unloading containers.

Laem Chabang Port

The Laem Chabang Port is located about 130 kilometers southeast of Bangkok in Chonburi province. It is the second-largest port in Thailand and is connected to the national

Laem Chabang Port logorailway network for the transportation of goods to the interior of the country.

Map Ta Phut Port

Located in Rayong province, the Map Ta Phut Port is on the east coast of Thailand, this port is an important center for the country's petrochemical industry. It has a rail yard and is connected to the national rail network.

Chiang Saen Port

The Chiang Saen Port is located on the Mekong River in Chiang Rai province, near the border with Laos. It is used for the transport of goods between Thailand and the neighboring countries, in particular Laos and China.

Transit time between French ports and Thailand ports

Here is a summary table of the average transit times, in days, between the largest French and Thai ports.

Bangkok Laem Chabang Map Ta Phut Chiang Saen
Marseille Fos 34 34 34 31
Le Havre 41 41 41 38
Dunkerque 41 41 41 38

*These transit times between France and Thailand are given as an indication.


Should I ship by groupage or full container between France and Thailand?

dimensions-containerThere are three main categories of standard container sizes:

  • The 40-foot HQ (High Cube), with a capacity of 76 cubic meters.
  • The 40-foot container, with a capacity of 67 cubic meters.
  • The 20-foot container, with a capacity of 33 cubic meters.

Each of these containers can be shipped by two different transportation methods.


Less than Container Load: This type of shipment, allows several people, who do not have enough goods to fill an entire container, to use the same container. The goods of various people are thus combined to fill an entire container.

This is the most cost-effective choice for small shipments of less than 15 m³.


Advantages of LCL

  • The advantageous rate for small volumes.
  • Allows for fewer but more frequent shipments, reducing storage expenses.

Disadvantages of LCL

  • Often longer delivery times due to loading and unloading of goods from all customers.
  • Increased risk of loss and damage from multiple loading and unloading.


Full Container Load: For this type of shipment, one person will use the entire capacity of the container. This minimizes the risk of damage to the goods.

This method would still be advantageous even if you did not fill the container completely. However, it is the most cost-effective for shipments over 15 m³.


Advantages of FCL

  • The advantageous rate for large shipments of goods.
  • Reduced risk of damage or loss of goods because containers are not opened during transit.

Disadvantages of FCL

  • A minimum volume of at least 15 m³ to be profitable.

Siam Shipping Alert: There are certain risks associated with LCL loading. During sea freight, your purchases may be damaged. Also, if your container partner encounters difficulties with customs during clearance, your customs clearance procedure may be delayed as well. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Special transports by sea between Thailand and France

Reefer container

The reefer container is used to transport chemicals or perishable products at controlled temperatures. It is equipped with a cooling system.


RORO (Roll On/Roll Off) vessels are used to transport vehicles such as cars, trucks, vans, semi-trailers, and rail cars. They are considered the safest and most efficient vessels for heavy or special cargo.


Bulk carriers are used to transport solid bulk materials such as minerals, grains, coal, or liquids such as crude oil, gas, and chemicals. These vessels are larger and easier to load and unload.


OOG cargo is cargo that exceeds the dimensions of a standard container. Two types of containers exist for these goods:

  • Open Top Container: they have no roof, which allows loading cargo that exceeds the height of the containers.
  • Flat Rack Container: these are flat containers without side walls or roofs, used for goods that cannot be loaded in standard containers.

How much does the sea freight cost between Thailand and France?

The cost of sea freight between France and Thailand will depend on several factors such as the type of cargo being shipped, the volume and weight of the cargo, the distance between the ports of origin and destination, the shipping method, and the current market conditions.

In general, the average cost of shipping a 20-foot container (TEU) from France to Thailand is approximately US$1,500 to US$3,000, depending on the shipping company, the port of origin and destination, and the time of year.

It is possible to estimate the cost if you know the exact weight and volume of your goods. To do this, you must follow these 3 steps:

  • Determine the PU (Paying Unit): for this, you need to compare the mass and volume of your cargo based on the theory of sea freight, which states that one ton = 1 m³. The higher value between volume and mass will be the UP. For example, for a volume of 20 m³ and a mass of 25 tons, the UP will be 25 tons.
  • Calculate the basic freight: to do this, multiply the cost of the UP by its number.
  • Calculate the net freight: with the following formula, Base freight + BAF + CSP - Rebate. The result will be the cost of your sea freight.

Tariff surcharges

Tariff surcharges may apply on your transport between France and Thailand, here are the main ones:

  • Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF): This surcharge is applied according to fluctuations in the price of fuel and may vary regularly depending on market conditions.
  • Security Surcharge (SCS): This surcharge is applied to cover costs related to port and vessel security.
  • Overcapacity surcharge (OWS): This surcharge is applied when demand for shipping is lower than supply, resulting in excess vessel capacity.
  • Congestion surcharge (CGS): This surcharge is applied in ports where congestion is high, resulting in extended waiting times for ships.

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Air freight from Thailand to France

air freight guide

Classic or Express air freight 

There are two types of air freight:

  • Classic air freight: This option uses the space available on board commercial flights of airlines such as Air FranceThai AirwaysChina Southern Airlines, or even Qatar Airways, and exploits the empty spaces.
  • Express airfreight: This option uses aircraft dedicated solely to airfreight. This solution is offered by courier companies, such as FedExDHLUPS, or even TNT, which offers door-to-door solutions.

Classic or express air freight

Main airports in France

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport logo

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is Europe's leading airport for cargo traffic, with a cargo area of 300 hectares.

Additional information:

  • 328 destinations served in 119 countries
  • 2.1 million tons of cargo and mail in 2019
  • 9ᵉ world airport for cargo

Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport
Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport logo

Lyon-Saint-Exupéry International Airport has been ranked the best European airport in 2019 by the ACI (Airport Council International) for the category of airports handling between 10 and 25 million passengers per year.

Additional information:

  • 131 destinations and 41 airlines
  • 57,278 tons of cargo in 2019
  • 2nd French regional airport for commercial aviation

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport logoToulouse Airport is the 6th largest airport in France. It has a well-developed infrastructure and is capable of handling a lot of cargo.

Additional information:

  • 67,986 tons of freight in 2019
  • 8,000 m² dedicated to traditional cargo handling
  • Cargo capacity of 50,000 tons

Main airports in Thailand

Suvarnabhumi Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport logoSuvarnabhumi Airport is a major cargo hub for the Asia-Pacific region, offering direct air connections to many international destinations.

Additional information:

  • It has the highest control tower in the world.
  • Its terminal is the third largest in the world with 56.3 hectares.
  • Forecasted increase in cargo and aviation capacity.

Don Mueang Airport

Don Mueang Airport logoDon Mueang is considered one of the oldest international airports in the world. Commercial flights began in 1924, making it one of the oldest commercial airports in the world.

Additional information:

  • 700,000 tons of cargo were handled by this airport.
  • It worked with 80 airlines

Chiang Mai Airport

logo-chiang-mai-airportAlthough Chiang Mai Airport is not as large as Bangkok Airport, it plays an important role in the logistics of the northern region of Thailand by providing direct connections to major domestic and international destinations.

Additional information:

  • 16,000 tons of annual cargo
  • More than 15,000 flights and 2,000,000 passengers annually

What are the advantages of air freight?

  • Speed of transport
  • Rarely late
  • Good geographical coverage

What are the disadvantages of air freight?

  • High price
  • Not possible to transport really heavy goods
  • The security at the airport is much higher which can make you lose time during the control

How much does it cost to transport cargo by air from Thailand to France?

To know the price of your goods transported from Thailand to France by air freight, you must consult the tariffs of the airline companies. Their tariffs are presented by weight bands in decreasing prices.

The weight taken into account by the airlines will always be the one that is to their advantage, that is to say, the highest between the real weight and the volumetric weight.

Siam Shipping Advice: It can be difficult to estimate the exact price of your airfreight shipment yourself. Contact us to receive a free quote within 24 hours.

How to calculate the volumetric weight of your shipment?

The volumetric weight is the volume occupied by a package, based on its dimensions and its gross weight. To know it, you must measure the dimensions of the package (length, width, and height), then convert them into cubic meters. Then use the formula below:

Volumetric weight = (length x width x height) / 5000

Siam Shipping Advice: We recommend using air freight for fragile, valuable, or perishable goods to increase security and protect your merchandise. You can get in touch with our specialists for further details if you want to learn more about transporting fragile merchandise.

 Door-to-door delivery between Thailand and France

If you don't have time to devote to transportation, door-to-door delivery is for you. This method is simple, your goods will be picked up directly at your home, and then delivered to the desired destination. You will not need to take care of anything and your goods will be safe with professionals.

What are the advantages of door-to-door services?

  • Quick delivery: As everything is completed in a 24-hour period, you can send it if your delivery time is during the day.
  • Door-to-door delivery is always available, so your package will come even late at night or on a holiday.
  • Convenience: Receiving the package at your location rather than having it delivered to you is better for you.
  • Your cargo can be qualified for courier delivery if it is a manageable size.

What are the disadvantages of door-to-door services?

  • High cost: The cost increases with the urgency of the cargo, as well as with the package's size and weight, which also affect the cost.


Customs clearance in France for goods imported from ThailandCustoms Clearance

Customs clearance in any country is an important and mandatory step that must be done when importing and exporting.

When you import goods in France, the customs clearance will consist in paying the customs duties and the VAT. It is also necessary to be attentive to the regulations and standards of the country where you are shipping to avoid having your goods blocked at customs.

Here are the prohibited and regulated products in France:

  • Prohibited products: drugs, counterfeit goods, plants, animals, and some dangerous materials...
  • Regulated products: food (fruits, vegetables, meat, poison, milk), animals, weapons and ammunition, works of art, medicines, products…

Customs valuation

The customs value corresponds to the real economic value of the goods. Its estimation is based on precise rules harmonized at the European level. Thus, the General Rules for the Determination of Customs Value provide for several valuation methods, which are set out in Articles 70 to 74 of the European Customs Code (ECC).

The customs value makes it possible, when importing goods, to determine the duties and taxes that will be collected by the State: customs duties, additional duties, anti-dumping duties, dock dues, VAT, etc., and when exporting, to obtain the basis for certain duties and to collect the data necessary for statistical monitoring of foreign trade.

What are the customs duties and taxes in France?

  • Import duties: These are taxes imposed on certain goods imported into France, based on the product's classification, value, and country of origin. Import duties can vary widely depending on the product and can range from a few percent to more than 50% of the product's value.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): This is a tax on the value added at each stage of production and distribution of goods and services. For most goods imported into France, the VAT rate is currently 20%. The VAT is usually paid by the importer when the goods enter the country.
  • Excise duties: These are taxes on specific products, such as alcohol, tobacco, and fuel. Excise duties are often based on the quantity or volume of the product and are charged in addition to import duties and VAT.
  • Anti-dumping duties: These are additional import duties imposed by the EU to counteract unfair trade practices, such as when a foreign company exports a product at a lower price than it charges in its own country. Anti-dumping duties can be significant and may be imposed for several years.
  • Environmental taxes: Some products may be subject to environmental taxes, such as taxes on packaging or products that contain hazardous substances.

How to calculate customs duties and taxes

Calculating customs duties and taxes on imports into France can be a complex process that depends on several factors, such as the type of product, its value, and its country of origin. Here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Determine the product's tariff classification: The first step in calculating customs duties is to determine the product's tariff classification. This is done by consulting the EU's Common Customs Tariff (CCT), which lists the various product categories and their corresponding duty rates. You'll need to know the Harmonized System (HS) code for your product to determine its tariff classification.
  2. Determine the product's value: The next step is to determine the product's value, which is usually the invoice value of the goods plus any additional costs, such as shipping and insurance.
  3. Calculate the customs duty: Once you have determined the product's tariff classification and value, you can calculate the customs duty. The duty rate will depend on the product's tariff classification, its value, and the country of origin. You can use the EU's TARIC database to look up the duty rate for your product.
  4. Calculate the VAT: In addition to customs duties, you will also need to calculate the VAT. The VAT rate in France is currently 20%, but there may be reduced rates for certain products, such as food and books.
  5. Calculate any other taxes or fees: Depending on the product, there may be other taxes or fees to consider, such as excise duties or environmental taxes.

It's important to note that the customs clearance process and the calculation of duties and taxes can be complex. If you're unsure about how to calculate the duties and taxes for your specific import, it's always best to consult with a customs broker or freight forwarder like Siam Shipping. We can help you navigate the process and ensure that you're meeting all the necessary requirements.

How to find the HS code?

A system of classification for products used in international trade is the HS code (Harmonized System). It organizes goods into categories based on their nature and intended use, making the collection of statistical data and the customs clearance process easier. The HS system contains more than 5,000 different products, each of which is categorized using a distinct eight-digit number.


You can consult these websites to know the HS code of the Thailand products and the French products.

Calculating customs duties with the HS Code

Now that you have the HS code of your products, you can find the associated tariffs on the European customs website.

Here is a small illustrated guide to help you understand how to do it:

Enter your HS code and country of origin.

Calculating customs duties with the HS Code France

Then, consult taxes applicable to your product.

customs duties HS Code


Does Siam Shipping charge customs duties?

No, no commission is taken from Siam Shipping. As proof, we will send you all the official documents provided by French customs. We will only collect the customs clearance fees, as we declare your goods to the customs for you.

The fees associated with customs duties and taxes will be collected by the French government.

Customs procedures and contact

Siam Shipping Info: Customs clearance is not the easiest part of the transportation process. However, it is a step not to be neglected if you don't want to pay additional fees or suffer delays! We advise you to contact us so that we take care of your customs clearance!

French Customs

french customs logo

Official name: Les douanes françaises

Official website: French Customs

Thai Customs


Official name: Customs Department of Thailand

Official website: Thai Customs Website

Required documents

Original invoice

It is an essential document to allow the clearance of goods in France and Thailand.

Bill of lading

This document is used to prove that the product has been delivered by the exporter and records all the details of the transport procedure.

The packing list

This is a complete list created to detail the items that the shipper is shipping. It is essential throughout the shipment and must be present at every stage of the product delivery.

Certificate of Origin

This document certifies the country of origin of the goods.

CE conformity

A certificate of conformity is a document that proves that a product complies with environmental, safety, and health requirements.

Other logistics services

DocShipper Advise : We help you with the entire sourcing process so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

  • Having trouble finding the appropriate product? Enjoy our sourcing services, we directly find the right suppliers for you!
  • You don't trust your supplier? Ask our experts to do quality control to guarantee the condition of your goods!
  • Do you need help with the logistics? Our international freight department supports you with door to door services!
  • You don't want to handle distribution? Our 3PL department will handle the storage, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery!


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