Malaysia Freight Transport Report

Providing expert analysis, independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the freight transport industry.

Report includes: BMI Industry View, Industry SWOT Analysis, Industry Forecasts, Freight Transport Risk Reward Index, Macroeconomic Forecast, Company Profiles and Regional and Country Industry Overviews.

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Malaysia Freight Transport Report
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BMI View: We expect strong growth for trade in Malaysia over the coming years, boosting freight volumes for all modes. Rail will experience the biggest increase, catering for construction material transfers while road freight will dominate in terms of tonnage with industries utilising the country's extensive road network for their cargo transfer needs. Air freight will experience slow, steady growth limited by functional and cost constraints. Rising consumer demand in the growing economy is also contributing to our positive outlook with the recently agreed Trans-Pacific Partnership presenting further growth potential over the medium to long term.

Malaysia has enjoyed economic growth since 2010 and we forecast growth to continue over the medium term, although at slightly lower rates than previous years. For the years 2010-2014 real GDP average is estimated to have reached 5.7%, while we anticipate an average of 4.6% for years 2015-2019. Freight, particularly for road, benefits from increasing consumer demand driven by relatively low unemployment rates (4.1% average 2015-2019) and inflation rates remaining lower than average wage growth. Malaysia oil production has declined significantly over the past decade however it remains a net exporter of oil and natural gas and so current low oil prices are having an effect on government revenues. With domestic demand for energy increasing and the country's oil reserves decreasing we forecast that by 2017 Malaysia will become a net importer of oil.

Manufactured goods attract the most spending for both Malaysian exports and imports with fuel coming second. Trade in the country is shaped by its role as a transhipment hub with all freight modes used to accommodate such services. Regional trade agreements have developed connections and boosted bilateral trade with an important development being the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed on October 5 2015 between 12 countries including Malaysia, and key trading partners Singapore, US and Japan. Implementation of measures proposed by the deal, including lower trade barriers will be gradual and initiate following parliamentary approval from each member, which is expected to be a challenging process in certain members such as the US. Nevertheless we anticipate that over the medium to long term Malaysian trade and freight volumes will be increased by the partnership.

Air freight development is restricted by higher costs per tonne and its use for specific cargo. However MASkargo will continue to operate air freight services to and from the country and has added new services to Bangladesh and India in 2015 while discontinuing services to Frankfurt. This shows that air freight will continue to serve certain demand markets and we project steady and slow growth for this mode. Rail freight will see the strongest growth going forward with new networks servicing demand for construction materials and agricultural products. Road freight will continue to be the dominant freight mode in the country as the developed road network offers great access to destination points and consumer demand is anticipated to increase on products mostly transported by road.

Recent Developments

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership was agreed in October with the participation of Malaysia and major trading partners US, Japan and Singapore.

  • MASkargo offering air freight services added new routes to its network connecting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Bangalore, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • MASkargo announced that Malaysian Airlines (MAS) restructuring will not affect the cargo unit following speculation that plans were in place to sell off the unit.

  • A new goods and services tax is in place which is promoted as a more business friendly version of the replaced sales and services tax.

Key BMI Forecasts:

  • We estimate total road freight volumes will rise by 3.4% y-o-y over 2015 to reach 297mn tonnes and forecast a 3.5% increase in 2016 to 307mn tonnes.

  • We estimate total rail freight volumes will rise by 5.0% y-o-y over 2015 to reach over 14.3mn tonnes and expect 9.6% growth to 15.7mn tonnes in 2016.

  • We estimate total air freight volumes will rise by 1.2% y-o-y over 2015 to reach 930,000 tonnes and continue to rise in 2016 by 1,2% to 940,000 tonnes

  • We estimate total imports to reach USD185.0bn in 2015 and grow by 7.1% to USD198.2bn in 2016.

  • We estimate total exports to reach USD204.6bn in 2015 and forecast 6.4% growth to USD217.7bn in 2016.

  • Malaysia's top trade partners will be China, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the US.

BMI Industry View
Freight Transport
Operational Risk
Industry Forecast
Trade Forecast
Table: Trade Overview (Malaysia 2012-2019)
Table: Key Trade Indicators (Malaysia 2012-2019)
Table: Top Import Destinations
Table: Top Export Destinations
Road Freight Forecast
Table: Road Freight (Malaysia 2012-2019)
Rail Freight Forecast
Table: Rail Freight (Malaysia 2012-2019)
Air Freight Forecast
Table: Air Freight (Malaysia 2012-2019)
Market Overview
Company Profile
Political Outlook
Domestic Politics
Long-Term Political Outlook
Table: Political Overview
Oil Price Outlook
Europe - Brent On Board For A Bumpy Ride
Macroeconomic Forecasts
Economic Analysis
Table: Economic Activity (Malaysia 2010-2019)
Demographic Forecast
Table: Population Headline Indicators (Malaysia 1990-2025)
Table: Key Population Ratios (Malaysia 1990-2025)
Table: Urban/Rural Population & Life Expectancy (Malaysia 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group (Malaysia 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group % (Malaysia 1990-2025)
Industry Forecast Methodology
Sector-Specific Methodology

The Malaysia Freight Transport Report has been researched at source, and features latest-available data covering commercial transport and logistics by road, rail, air and water; industry forecasts, company rankings covering leading national and multinational operators; and analysis of latest industry trends, opportunities, projects and regulatory changes.

BMI Research's Malaysia Freight Transport Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Malaysian freight transport and logistics industry.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent freight transport industry forecasts on Malaysia to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the strategic freight transport market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in the Malaysian freight transport sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Malaysia.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs, and latest activity).


BMI Industry View

Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis covering freight transport and logistics, regulatory changes, major investments and projects and significant national and multinational company developments.

Industry SWOT Analysis

Analysis of the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the freight transport sector and within the broader political, economic and business environment.

BMI Industry Forecasts

Historic data series (2008-2012) and forecasts to end-2019 for all key industry and economic indicators (see list below), supported by explicit assumptions plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast including:

  • Transport Sector: Total freight carried by road, rail, inland waterways, maritime, air and pipeline (mn tonnes-km/mn tonnes).
  • Trade: Exports and imports (USDmn) by category of goods (manufactured goods, food, chemicals etc.); top five import and export trade partners (USDmn); imports/exports to each global region (USDmn)
  • Port Data: Throughput (‘000 tonnes) for all major ports in the state.
  • Oil Products Prices: Price forecasts for gasoline and aviation fuel (USD/bbl) at all major global energy trading hubs.
  • Economic Indicators: Nominal GDP (USDbn); real GDP growth (%); GDP per capita (USD); industrial production (%); unemployment (%)

Market Overview

Details of the freight infrastructure in each state by segment (road, rail, air, water and pipelines). Full analysis of the competitive landscape within each segment.

Industry Trends and Developments

Analysis of the latest projects across the freight transport sector (road, rail, air, sea and logistics) including a market overview which provides an outline of the key elements driving development.

Political Outlook

The Freight Transport market reports contain a chapter detailing the political outlook of a given region, examining the domestic politics, long-term outlook and foreign policy, and assessing the impact this could have on freight and transport businesses.

Company Profiles*

Examines the short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate company SWOT analyses.

The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Freight Transport reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.