Comparing The Best Way To Ship Products From China to Singapore

Published on
November 23, 2020
Written by
Zachary Pestana
Writers@Aspire
Reviewed by
Episode #
Comparing The Best Way To Ship Products From China to Singapore
Looking to ship products from China to Singapore? Read about best way to ship products & most cost-effective forwarding service providers
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Having accounted for 28% of the global manufacturing output, China is undoubtedly the factory of the world. It’s no secret that Singaporean retailers and consumers have turned to buying cheap products directly from Chinese merchants. Online shopping websites like Taobao have facilitated the ease of small personal purchases.

But if you are a business owner who engages Chinese factories to produce your product or dropships in large quantities, you’ll want to find the cheapest shipping from China to Singapore. Read on to find out more about how you can decide on options for shipping from China to Singapore.

What Items Are Commonly Shipped From China to Singapore?

China is a hub of manufacturing and industrial activity. Considered the “manufacturing powerhouse” of the world, there are numerous items that China provides to the world. These items are usually low-cost, given the cheap labor available in the country. Some of the most common goods that China supplies to Singapore include:

  • Electronics
  • Construction equipment
  • Other machinery
  • Mineral fuels
  • Oil
  • Medical and technical equipment
  • Iron and steel products
  • Iron and steel for building homes
  • Live trees and plants
  • Organic chemicals for various purposes
  • Plastics
  • Copper

What Items Cannot be Shipped Into Singapore?

Certain items are prohibited for import into Singapore. These include ammunition, corpses, cremated remains, fireworks, ivory, drugs, and explosives. China also prohibits the export of certain goods such as lasers, drones, and crop-breeding technologies. Ensure that your imports into Singapore do not comprise the prohibited list of items.

How to Ship From China to Singapore?

Air Freight Shipping

Air freight shipping from China to Singapore involves loading goods onto a plane to send them to their destination. This is a great option for cargo that is relatively high in value and needs to be delivered within a specific time frame. You also get door delivery services at competitive rates. Air freight has numerous other advantages, such as higher safety, quicker delivery and convenience. However, air freight is not the cheapest way to forward freight from China to Singapore.

Sea Freight Shipping

Sea freight shipping involves using sea routes from China to Singapore to send goods via a ship. The main port in Singapore is the Port of Singapore. Chinese goods can be shipped from ports at Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen Dalian and Yantai. Depending on where you are getting your goods, you can choose the closest shipping route. While sea freights are prone to more accidents, they are much more cost-efficient than air freights. Between air and sea freight, the sea provides the cheapest shipping from China to Singapore.

While choosing sea freight, you have the option to choose from Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL).

Full Container Load (FCL)

FCL can be used when you want to fill an entire shipping container with your goods. If you have enough cargo, this may be a more cost-effective option. You will pay a flat rate instead of per cubic meter occupied. Security is also higher because the entire goods transported are in your container, and you can get delivery on a date that is suitable to you.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

If you have fewer goods, you can choose LCL, where you will be required to pay only as much space as your goods occupy. LCL is cost-effective and a wise choice if you ship small quantities of goods frequently. However, you should always choose a trusted freight carrier when opting for LCL since your goods will be transported along with those of others. If your goods are susceptible to damage or you need delivery on a certain date, LCL may not be the best option for you.  

Express Shipping

Express shipping is a form of expedited shipping that shortens the time taken for delivery. It is usually done by air and delivered directly to the address. Special courier services offer express delivery options while shipping from China to Singapore. When you choose this method, you will not have to avail of the services of a third party for loading or delivery. The order will be delivered directly to the drop-off address. Goods can be transported as quickly as in a day or two. Prices vary depending on the time it takes for delivery.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a retail distribution method wherein you transfer goods from a buyer to the store, a third party warehouse or even the customer without taking direct delivery of the goods. If your goods are small and light, you can skip the process of taking delivery yourself and have the goods delivered directly to the final destination.

Factors to Consider While Choosing the Shipping Method from China to Singapore

While you have only two options to choose from, there are certain factors you must consider while picking a freight forwarder from China to Singapore. Here’s what you should look for:

Speed

The duration it takes for your goods to reach Singapore is an important consideration to make. If you are transporting perishable goods or high-value items, you may want to consider air freight because of its speed and relatively higher safety. You can get your goods transported in one to six days.

Cost

If speed is not a concern, the next thing to consider is the cost of shipping. Sea shipping is much more economical because you can enjoy economies of scale by loading up large quantities in a container.

Restrictions

Another important factor to consider while shipping from China to Singapore is the cargo restrictions imposed on air freight. For instance, goods like nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, batteries, etc., cannot be shipped by air. This is because aeroplanes cannot safely transport certain goods. Check the list of restricted items on flights, and you can then choose to send them across by sea.

Type of Container

If you are choosing to take the sea freight option, there are different kinds of containers that you can choose from. You should always consider the different types of containers available and choose one that fits your needs best. Usually, ships from China to Singapore offer the following types of containers:

Dry Goods or Standard Containers

This is the most common type of container available for shipping goods. Made of steel or aluminum, dry storage containers can be used to transport any type of dry materials. They come in different sizes including 10 feet, 20 feet, or 40 feet.

High Cube Containers

High Cube or HC containers are similar to standard containers, but they have more height, thereby enabling the transport of bigger or longer goods. They usually come in two sizes - 40 feet or 45 feet. They provide additional storage value at their price point.  

Refrigerated Containers

Refrigerated containers, also called reefer containers, that are usually used to ship perishables such as fruits, vegetables and meat. They have temperature controls to regulate the freshness of items being transported. They are more expensive because of the electricity they consume for temperature control.

Insulated Containers

Insulated containers help you maintain a specific temperature inside irrespective of the temperature outside. This means you can make the temperature colder or warmer, depending on what you need. Vacuum seals ensure that neither cold nor heat escape the containers. They are ideal if you want to ship extremely temperature sensitive goods.

Double Door Containers

As the name suggests, double door containers have openings on both ends. It allows for loading and unloading of items more efficiently. For instance, if you are transporting a car, you can easily drive in and out of the two doors - there would be no need to reverse the car.

Open Top Containers

Open-top containers have detachable tops or ceilings, making it easier to load and unload goods. Not just that, they are useful to transport goods that can’t fit into a standard container because of their size. For example, if you are transporting machinery that doesn’t fit snugly into a standard container because it is too tall, you can use an open top container. Goods are latched to prevent them from falling. If required, you can also use the top.

Open Side Containers

Open side storage containers have doors that open on the lengthy sides to allow big goods to be fitted inside. They not only provide more space to fit bigger cargo, but are also time-efficient because goods can be loaded and unloaded faster.

Ventilated Container

Ventilated containers ensure that your goods have proper ventilation. This could be natural, provided through slits on top and the side, or artificially ventilated through fans. They are often used to transport coffee beans, hence also acquiring the name coffee containers.

Tanks

Tanks are containers often used to transport liquid goods. They are made of anti-corrosive materials, such as steel.

Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers have sides only on the short ends. As an alternative, they may have collapsible sides lengthwise. They are used to transport goods such as pipes, machines or even heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

Platform Containers

Platform containers are flat containers that don’t have any walls or ceilings. Instead, they only have a solid floor. They are used to transport unique goods that don’t fit into any other container types.

How Much Time Will It Take to Ship From China to Singapore?

Depending on the mode of transport you choose and the port of origin, the duration of your cargo to be shipped from China to Singapore will differ.

Express Shipping takes about a day or two to deliver your products. However, costs are quite steep. Your next fastest alternative would be to send goods by air.

Here are rough estimates of the time it will take from dispatch to delivery by air freight:

Below are the time estimates for cargo delivery by sea from different ports in China to the port of Singapore.

How Much Will it Cost to Ship from China to Singapore? 

Based on time, manpower required and fuel prices, the cost of shipping from China to Singapore varies. Sea freight is cheaper compared to air freight. 

Given below are the approximate rates for sea and air freight shipping from China to Singapore as of December 2022:

Sea Freight

If you would like to choose the air freight options, these are the costs as of December 2022: 

The Cheapest Shipping from China to Singapore

Sea freight is the cheapest way to ship your goods from China to Singapore, especially if you have large quantities you want to transport. Factors such as the availability of more ports and economies of scale make this cheaper. 

However, if you want higher safety of your goods, you may want to choose the air freight option. 

Comparing The Best Forwarding Services To Ship Products From China to Singapore

1. ComNBuy: Fastest shipping option

comnbuy ship products from china to singapore

If you need items to arrive quickly, ComNBuy is your best bet. As compared to other providers, it has the fastest air freight shipping rate of only 3 to 5 working days. Bulk shipping by ComNBuy is also affordable and arrives within a reasonable timeframe.

While its overall standard shipping fees do work out to be more affordable than certain competitors, ComNBuy does have a high base charge. Due to the vague website description, it is also unclear what qualifies as sensitive items based on their specifications. To find out more about their shipping charges and options, click here.

Airfreight costs

• Shipping fees: S$8 for first 0.5kg; additional S$3.25 per 0.5kg for up to 10kg; S$6 per kg for every 1kg thereafter (Standard) | S$9 for first 0.5kg; additional S$4.75 per 0.5kg for up to 10kg; S$9 per kg for every 1kg thereafter (Sensitive)

• Delivery time: 3 to 5 working days (Standard) | 4 to 6 working days (Sensitive)

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: S$2 per package

Sea freight costs

• Shipping fees: S$16 for first 5kg; additional S$2.50 per 1kg for up to 10kg; S$2 per kg for every 1kg thereafter (Standard from Shenzhen) | S$18 for first 5kg; additional S$3.50 per 1kg for up to 10kg; S$3 per kg for every 1kg thereafter (Sensitive from Shenzhen)

• Delivery time: 10 to 12 working days

• Repackaging/Consolidation costs: S$2 per package

2. ezShip: Most cost-effective for air and sea shipping

ezShip has the most affordable shipping rate for sea freight and air freight options. There are also standardised shipping rates between Shanghai and Guangzhou goods and flexibility with sea shipping since the service covers everything from small to bulky items.

But if you are shipping numerous items, ezShip doesn't offer repacking or consolidation services. Unlock other couriers; doorstep delivery is not complimentary and comes at an additional fee. Unlike some other carriers, ezShip does not charge GST on shipping. See full shipping charges and options here

Airfreight costs

• Shipping fees: Varies from day to day. You can calculate air freight costs here

• Delivery time: 4 to 8 working days (Standard) | 6 to 9 working days (Sensitive)

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: Service unavailable

Sea freight costs

• Shipping fees:  Charged by volume only; S$1.80 per o.o1 CBM for 0.01- 0.09 CMB, S$1.50 per 0.10-0.19 CMB, S$1.50 per 0.20-0.59 CBM, S$1.30 per 0.60-0.99 CMB, S$0.90 per 1 CBM and above 

• Delivery time: 2-3 weeks

• Repackaging/Consolidation costs: Service unavailable

3. SGShop: Most variety of shipping options

sgshop ship products from china to singapore

SGShop is a Taobao agent with the most flexible service as it has many shipping providers available, all with varying delivery times. There is a choice to purchase wooden crates to reinforce your goods when shipping by sea shipping. Prohibited items and shipping terms and conditions are clearly stated.

SGShop tries to improve your overall user experience with its quick and accurate built-in shipping cost calculator. However, it still loses points as its website design is clunky and may prove difficult to navigate.

Airfreight costs

• Shipping fees: Varies depending on shipping partner chosen (calculate fee here for both standard and sensitive shipping)

• Delivery time: Varies depending on shipping partner chosen

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: Charged according to package’s volumetric weight

Sea freight costs

• Shipping fees: Varies depending on shipping partner chosen (calculate fee here for both standard and sensitive shipping)

• Delivery time: Varies depending on shipping partner chosen

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: Charged according to package’s volumetric weight

4. vPost: Good merchant deals, but no sea shipping option

vPost ship products from china to singapore

vPost is ideal for those who are always on the lookout for the best deals on merchant and shipping rates. The benefits of using vPost include receiving SMS updates on your shipment and free 30-day warehouse storage for shipping payment consolidation.

However, vPost does have an expensive base and add-on charges. Additionally, there is no available sea freight shipping option for bulk shipping. Shipping insurance starts at a minimum of $9.90 per item (as opposed to the usual shipping charge per consolidated package). See full shipping charges and options here.

Airfreight costs

• Shipping fees: S$12 base charge for first 0.5kg; additional S$1 per 0.1kg (Standard shipping only)

• Delivery time: 4 to 8 working days

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: From S$6

Sea freight costs

• Shipping fees: S$6 base charge for first 0.5kg; additional S$0.50 per 0.1kg (Standard shipping only)

• Delivery time: 9 to 12 working days

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: From S$6

5. Oops: Reliable shipping plus excellent service

Oops is a great choice for those who are on the lookout for reliable and high quality services when it comes to shipping your products from China to Singapore. Its rates are competitive and the company provides unparalleled customer service. You can also avail free storage in Guangzhou for 30 days. Brownie points for easy tracking and a super simple shipping process. 

Website is clean and easy to navigate. However, its sea deliveries have limited shipping days, which can lead to delays if you choose this option. See full shipping charges and options here

Airfreight costs

• Shipping fees: S$6.5 per KG for a minimum of 100 KGs

• Delivery time: 5 to 7 working days

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: Not available

Sea freight costs

• Shipping fees: S$8.01 per 0.1CMB for a minimum of 10 CMB on LCL; S$1200 for 20FT FCL; S$1350 for 40FT FCL 

• Delivery time: 8 to 14 working days

• Repacking/Consolidation costs: Not available

6. Eklink: Economic option to ship small quantities 

Eklink is a popular option among Singaporeans to ship small quantity e-commerce items from China to Singapore. It ships products from 0.5 CBM. It’s easy to track where your order is through their website. All orders and items are consolidated on its website. 

However, do not choose Eklink if you want to transport items that have a high weight because prices will be steep. Also, you need to contact customer service to get details such as total CBM to ship and total payment. 

What Documents are Required to Ship Goods from China to Singapore?

In order for goods to enter Singapore, they have to clear customs. The customs process can take anywhere between 24 hours to three days. To clear customs, you will need to furnish the following documents: 

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is a document that contains all details of the shipped products, their value, the Harmonized System code that classifies and tracks international shipments, and any other vital information. This is the most important document you will need when importing any goods into Singapore.

Packing List

A packing list contains details that describe the contents of your shipment, including the items, their dimensions, and their weight. It helps customs officials verify the contents of your shipment.

Bill of Lading or Air Waybill 

A bill of lading (B/L) acts as a contract between the shipper and the carrier. It doubles up as a receipt for the goods once they’ve been loaded onto the vessel. It is used when goods are shipped by sea. When shipping by air, the document is called an Air Waybill. 

Certificate of Origin

The certificate of origin certifies where your products are made - in this case, in China. It is used to provide preferential tariff treatment to products that are eligible for it. 

Ensuring Compliance for Import 

As an importer into Singapore, you should pay attention to the Customer Goods Safety Requirements in the country. We have already outlined the items that are prohibited or restricted in Singapore. In general, you must be cognizant of honouring the requirements. 

  • The Consumer Product Safety Office in the country undertakes a post-market inspection. This minimizes the effects of unsafe general consumer goods being transported into Singapore if there are any dangers discovered. 
  • Manufacturers in China are encouraged to sell products that are of the highest safety. The Consumer Product Safety Office suggests that manufacturers check items they are exporting for defects or safety issues, warn consumers of any potential hazards of the product, and make sure that all tests and certifications are in place. 
  • If safety standards are not met, manufacturers are encouraged to stop export. If goods have been dispatched, they should inform retailers of the same and push them to make relevant disclosures to consumers. 

Taxes and Duties for Shipping from China to Singapore 

Starting 1 January 2022, 106 export items from China are subject to export tariffs with fixed tax rates. You can find the complete list here

As for goods imported into Singapore, most goods are subject to GST based on their cost, insurance and freight value. The GST rate is 7% on goods costing above SG$400.  

The GST on dutiable goods includes CIF and other import duties. Dutiable goods are also subject to import and customs duties. The GST on non-dutiable goods includes CIF and any other incidentals. 

Shipping Products From China To Singapore

Whichever service provider you choose to ship your products to, you might have to pay using Chinese yuan. Sometimes, paying in Yuan might offer you better prices due to the discrepancy in exchange rates.  

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does shipping take from China to Singapore? 

The time for shipping from China to Singapore depends on the mode of transportation you choose. Air freight can take anywhere between one to six days. Sea freight takes between four to twenty days.

What is the fastest shipping from China? 

The fastest freight forwarder from China to Singapore is express shipping but if you don’t meet the criteria, you can choose air freight.

What cannot be shipped to Singapore?

Singapore has a list of prohibited items that cannot clear customs. Some of these include firecrackers, rhinoceros horn, animal products obtained from endangered species, obscene articles, tobacco and cigars. You can find the complete list here.

Is it mandatory to get insurance while shipping goods from China to Singapore? 

Cargo insurance is not mandatory to ship products. However, to protect your import from any untoward incidents, it is always advisable to get insurance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zachary Pestana is a seasoned writer in market trends and business thought leadership. With a writing history at Incorp Global, MOQdigital, and AIESEC Australia, Zachary leverages his broad range of experiences to stimulate industry conversations and engage audiences.
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