How to ship your car

In March 2016 we shipped our little beloved home from Malaysia to Indonesia and this is our try to provide you with some information we found important during the whole process to share with overlanders who have not shipped their car yet. You are invited to give us any feedback on the following points in case you experienced something totally different or just want to add something you consider as important.

Things which might help to have in mind


  • In best case you arrange the whole shipment without any agency being involved. First it seems unfeasible but it is not as complicated as it might seem in the first step. Look for liner companies instead of forwarding agencies. Liner companies do own containers they rent out to you. Furthermore they own vessels to ship containers between ports. By finding a direct contact to a liner company you remove the overhead and costs forwarding companies add to the whole process. In case you find a liner company to ship your vehicle you are facing the following problem: Forwarding agencies have warehouses where a container usually would be stuffed and they have trucks to move your container to port container yard. That you might have to organize yourself but talk to the liner company, they might allow you to load the vehicle into a container in their container yard.
  • In case you can not find a liner company in the departure country, find a good agency and make sure that they can either give you the total costs which will be charged at your destination port (including container movements/BL fees/administration/documentation/etc.) OR, if they can’t provide you with this information, ask for the contact details of the liner company or forwarding agency on the other side (the recipient). Your person can’t be the recipient of the container at the destination port, your agency or liner company at the departure port will always send the container to another liner company or agency on the other side you depend on when you arrive. Since by the time you arrive at the destination port you first have to arrange the switching the Bill Of Lading into a Delivery Order, which is done by the company the container was delivered to. Furthermore this company already paid for the container lift-off from the vessel. So really keep this in mind: Contact the company your container will be delivered to in advance (before you actually agree and pay your liner/agency at the destination port) to ask for the exact and total price at the destination. This step is not only important when you ship to countries where businesses might run a bit dodgy. You can just avoid a surprise on the other side. This company is also mentioned on your Bill Of Lading as the recipient so you depend on them. You can’t change them after you have arrived.
  • Compare your quotation to price tables of liner companies you find on the internet. Many big liner companies have very detailed tables online where all the fees of the departure/arrival port are listed. You then get an idea of if your agency/liner company fools you or not. Moreover state owned ports would have standardized THC/Administration/Cleaning/Lifting/Storage fees you could find online as well. Just one example of all Indonesian port charges of MOL

During the process

  • Try to minimize container movements at both the departure and arrival ports. Ask if you could just quickly load/unload your vehicle from the container here or there. If it works you saved a lot of money. Make them understand that it only takes a couple of minutes. Probably not possible in Hamburg but it might be in Alexandria or Medan.
  • Make sure to take note of any seal number (seals might change when your container has to be opened again for i.e. a customs inspection), your container number and ask your agency/liner company for the vessel number. You will find the last two on your Bill Of Lading as well.

Example costs (Malaysia to Indonesia)

The following table shows the total costs we paid on the Malaysian as well as on the Indonesian side and it gives you an idea of how high the costs for sipping your vehicle from A to B might be. The experience of many other travelers are that the total costs of shipping from any departure country to any destination country should not differ too too much. You would sometimes pay a bit less or more, the actual shipping freight costs differ slightly depending on how long the vessel will be at sea but the majority of fees and costs you have to pay are port handling/custom/administration/storage/container movement costs. We know that we paid too much on the Malaysian side, so our price might not be the best price between Port Klang, Malaysia, and Belawan, Indonesia. But in general one might calculate with around 2000 € (plus/minus 500€) roughly.



Shipping Agency (see table 2 for details)

40’ high cube

Includes custom inspection fees per vehicle

1847.81 €




Liner agency (see table 3 for details)

As stated on your Bill Of Lading (Delivery Details/Recipient)

343.75 €

Extra movement

May be location dependent; This is the container movement from the container yard (after unloading from vessel) to a specific customs inspection zone

153.88 €

Customs inspection

Might depend on the country you are shipping to, write to the department of customs beforehand and ask for custom regulations regarding temporary car imports

0.00 €


Save money here by arriving in the destination country before your container arrives and start organizing the next steps. Either the first days (e.g. three in Belawan) of storage are free or cheap, after that you pay per day

93.67 €

Extra movement

From the customs inspection zone (as aforementioned may not always be necessary) to a yard where you are allowed to unload the container content; This is typically a yard/warehouse of an agency; Sometimes you might be allowed to open your container inside the port yard which would be the best option (each movement costs)

60.21 €


2499.32 €

Shipping agency Malayisa

The following types of fees should not much differ regardless of the country you are shipping to. Check for fees in your quotation which are not listed here and ask your liner or agency what they are charging for.

Ocean freight

350.00 €

THC (Terminal Handling Costs)

For container handling/lifts in the departure port

137.31 €

B/L Fees

Issuance of your Bill Of Lading

42.77 €

EDI/SMK charges

6.75 €

Seal charges

6.75 €

Agency Recovery Charges

6.75 €

Forwarding fees

107.37 €

ATA Carnet Declaration (per vehicle; 6 vehicles)

715.82 €

Haulage charges

235.68 €

Stuffing charges

238.61 €


1847.81 €

Shipping agency Indonesia

These are costs you might expect in the destination country, which should not much differ from the costs you have to pay in the departure country. Makes sense as what happens in the departure and destination port will not differ that much, arriving from my point is departing in reverse order J So apart from the freight costs, some container rental fees and possibly differing custom charges you can compare arriving and departing cost-wise.


Again Terminal Handling Costs for lifting/moving your container

135.82 €

Cleaning charges

Try to get rid of this, the container will not get dirty by transporting some vehicles (except you ship a Landy, ask for doubling the price in this case since oil is quite hard to get rid of)

28.50 €

Administration fees

42.15 €

Lift off

You will not pay for lifting off the container from the vessel when it arrives but the port authorities will charge the liner for this, the liner then probably doubles the price for you

28.50 €

Equipment Handling Fee

We tried hard to not pay the equipment fee since nobody could actually explain us what kind of equipment they use and for what they charge us here

46.83 €

Agency fee

28.50 €

Documentation & Deliver Order Fee

After you arrive in the destination port the first step is to turn your Bill Of Lading into a Delivery Order. Without the delivery order you can’t do anything which means you won’t be able to arrange unloading your container without it

33.45 €


343.75 €

Our shipping forwarding agency in Malaysia

Malaysian agent (not recommended by us):

Resee Synergy
Rena See
General Manager
M/P : +6012 - 349 6433
E-mail :


Indonesian agent (more than recommended)

Sugianto Makmur
Tel/Fax. +62 61 6637878


Further possibilities to ship from Malaysia to Indonesia

  • Mr. Lim’s onion boat (Penang to Belawan). His boat is apparently confiscated from time to time so there might not be a 100 percent chance that he has a boat when you want to ship. We only know motor bikers who shipped with him so might not be an option for cars (just ask him):  Cakra Shipping, Contact: Mr. Lim, HP: 042625879, Mobile: 0124709717, Mail:
  • Some motor bikers took the passenger ferry from Port Klang to Tanjung Balai. This option seems not really to be official but and we were wondering (while being on the ferry) how they managed to get over a big motor bike. But as you know everything is possible. Definitely no option for cars. Peter and Leonie from Holland did it so any further information you would better get directly from them:
  • Olli and Coco, two German motor bikers, shipped their bikes on a RoRo ferry from Port Klang to Borneo and are just driving down to Indonesia. This option is suitable for cars as well, on their website you find more information on the whole process:
  • While waiting and organizing the shipment from Port Klang we stayed in Talents Motor Park Hotel. Darren, the manager during our time there, helped us with everything. Apparently he has a good friend working at a liner company who might be of great help to organize shipments without a freight forwarding agency. In case you plan to ship from Malaysia, this would be our first contact to ask for anything. Let us know and we provide you the contact details of Darren. This is the hotel website:


In case you would like to read more on our shipment from Port Klang (Malaysia) to Belawan (Indonesia) check this:
Fahrzeugverschiffung von Port Klang nach Belawan
(German, use the translator button)