Key information

  • Flag:Malaysia Flag
  • Population:32,500,000 (approx.)
  • Coastline:Over 4,600km
  • Maritime Authority:Marine Department Of Malaysia (MARDEP)


Malaysia’s sea area is almost twice the size of its land area. The country is rich in marine resources and has large maritime-related industries such as petroleum and gas, shipping, ports, shipbuilding and ship repairs, fisheries and tourism, all of which provide opportunities to Malaysia’s coastal communities and beyond.

Maritime transport is key to Malaysia’s international trade, particularly involving liquid and dry bulk commodities, dry break bulk and containerized cargo. Around 90% of the country’s trade is transported by ships, with approximately 37% of its seaborne trade being carried by Malaysian ships. Malaysia is among the leaders in the oil tanker and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sectors and the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) was once considered the single largest LNG operator in the world.

Ports Of Malaysia

Malaysia has federal and state ports. The Ministry of Transport supervises the federal statutory bodies which are responsible for federal ports. Examples of federal run ports are Port of Klang, Penang Port, Port of Johor, Kuantan Port, Kemaman Port, Teluk Ewa Port, Malacca Port, Bintulu Port and Labuan Port.

The State Minister of Transport in Sabah and Sarawak authorizes state statutory bodies which are responsible for their respective state ports. In Sabah, the ports are under one private operator, the Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd with the Sabah Port Authority as the regulator. In Sarawak the ports are publicly owned by the port authorities, namely, Kuching Port Authority, Rajang Port Authority and Miri Port Authority.

Flag / Port State Responsibilities

The Maritime Industrial Control Division was established by MARDEP and is tasked with port state control functions. Control over foreign-flagged ships is guided by national regulations and those adopted by the Tokyo MoU.

MARDEP is in charge of ship registration and is responsible for the issuance of statutory certificates, either on its own or through recognized organizations. MARDEP is tasked with ensuring that all Malaysian flagged-ships comply with national and international regulations on maritime safety, security and environment protection.

Merchant Fleet

Malaysia has a reasonably sized merchant fleet engaged in international and domestic voyages. The Malaysian fleet totaling 5,619,000 gross tonnage consists of 17 dry cargo ships, 343 tankers and 352 passenger ships.

Laws & Regulations

Malaysia has developed the Malaysia Shipping Master Plan (MSMP) 2017-2022 to revitalize the Malaysian shipping industry to encompass the 5 pillars of the maritime sector, including: the employment of Malaysian ships, the development of maritime human resources, ship financing, business and regulatory environment and the provision of ancillary services. Realizing the need for a strategic framework and holistic policy overview, the National Shipping and Port Council (NSPC) was established to collectively incorporate the port sector into the MSMP to accommodate both Government and industry issues.

The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act of (1994) and the Merchant Shipping Ordinance (1952) address marine pollution by ships and provide the main instruments for enacting the requirements of international conventions. The Merchant Shipping Ordinance provides the legal basis for Malaysia to exercise its responsibility in relation to ship safety, security and pollution prevention while the Environmental Quality Act of 1974 provides the legal framework by which maritime conventions on environment protection are implemented. Several other government agencies such as the Department of Environment (DOE) under the recently formed Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) also undertake functions related to marine-environment protection.

International / Regional / Sub-Regional Memberships / Co-operations

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) – Member
  • International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) - Member
  • International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) - Member
  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Member
  • ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) – Member
  • Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding of Port State Control Inspection – Member
  • Cooperative Mechanism on Safety of Navigation and Marine Environment in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

IMO Conventions and Protocols