Sea Freight in Singapore

Sea Freight in Singapore

Sea Freight Forwarding

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Sea Freight in Singapore

As a hub for maritime trade, Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world. Its strategic location and efficient infrastructure make it an attractive destination for businesses looking to import or export goods. However, with so many options and regulations to consider, sea freight shipping can be a daunting process, particularly for first-time shippers. Our guide about sea freight in Singapore will cover various topics, including modes of transport, shipping containers, customs regulations, and freight rates, to give you a better understanding of the process.

Modes of transport

There are several modes of sea freight transport available in Singapore, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common modes are:

Full container load (FCL) shipping: This method involves shipping a full container load of goods in a single container. FCL is typically faster and more secure than groupage or less than container load (LCL) shipping, as there are fewer handling and transfer points. However, FCL is more expensive and may not be suitable for smaller shipments.

Groupage or less than container load (LCL) shipping: This method involves shipping smaller quantities of goods in a shared container with other shippers. Groupage is usually cheaper than FCL, as the cost of the container is shared among multiple shippers. However, it is slower and less secure than FCL, as there are more handling and transfer points.

Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) shipping: This method involves shipping vehicles or other wheeled cargo on a specialized ship. RoRo is typically faster and more cost-effective than other shipping methods for vehicles, but it is not suitable for all types of cargo.

Shipping containers

Sea freight containers come in a variety of sizes and types, depending on your cargo and shipping needs. The most common types of containers are:

Dry containers: These are standard containers used for most types of cargo. They are available in various sizes, ranging from 20 to 45 feet in length.

Reefer containers: These are refrigerated containers used for transporting perishable goods, such as food and pharmaceuticals. They are available in the same sizes as dry containers.

Open-top containers: These containers have an open top and no roof, allowing for oversized or bulky cargo to be loaded from the top. They are available in 20 and 40-foot lengths.

Flat rack containers: These containers have no walls or roof, and are used for shipping oversized or heavy cargo. They are available in 20 and 40-foot lengths.

Customs requirements

When shipping goods overseas, it is important to comply with customs regulations in both the exporting and importing countries. In Singapore, the following documents are typically required for sea freight shipping:

Bill of lading: This is a document that serves as a contract between the shipper and carrier and includes details such as the quantity, description, and value of the goods being shipped.

Commercial invoice: This document provides a detailed description of the goods and their value, and is used to calculate customs duties and taxes.

Packing list: This document lists the items contained in each shipping container, including their weight, dimensions, and value.

Certificate of origin: This document certifies the country of origin of the goods being shipped and may be required to qualify for preferential trade agreements or to comply with import regulations.

Insurance certificate: This document provides proof of insurance coverage for the goods being shipped.

Freight rates

Freight rates for sea shipping vary depending on several factors, including the mode of transport, container type and size, and the distance travelled. Some other factors that may affect freight rates include peak season surcharges, currency exchange rates, and fuel prices. It is important to obtain quotes from multiple carriers and compare their rates and services before deciding on a shipping provider.


Sea freight shipping can be a cost-effective and efficient way to transport goods overseas from Singapore. However, it is important to carefully consider the mode of transport, container type and size, and customs requirements before shipping, as well as obtaining quotes from multiple carriers to ensure competitive pricing. With the right preparation and planning, sea freight shipping can help your business expand its reach and grow its customer base around the world.

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Thye Hong Centre

Singapore 159086

☏ (+65) 6473 7688

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