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Shipping Freight by Air or Ocean From China to Singapore

Shipa Freight brings simplicity to exports and imports in Asia.

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Updated on 16 Feb 202212 min read

[China exported over $49 billion of goods to Singapore in 2019. Has your business contributed to that figure, or are you looking to arrange your first ever export from China to Singapore?

Either way, this page will provide you with information and guidance to make international logistics easier for your enterprise.

You’ll find important information about ocean and air shipping from China to Singapore, and the ports and airports of origin and destination through which your freight will ship. Details about shipping documents and customs clearance can be found here too.

Know Your Options for Shipping Freight From China to Singapore

Global logistics specialist adding point to shipping performance graph on whiteboard, between flags of China and Singapore

Although it’s possible to move goods from China to Singapore by road, many businesses choose to ship their goods by air or sea. Both modes of transportation have their pros and cons, and on this page we’ll look at both, so you can find out which best meets the needs of your supply chain.

Ocean Freight From China to Singapore

Less than Container Load (LCL): Shipping a small volume of goods from China to Singapore? LCL is the ideal option and will see your goods share a container with products being shipped by other enterprises. Goods are likely to be moved or handled more frequently than with FCL shipping.

Full Container Load (FCL): This mode of shipping entails paying a flat rate for rental and transportation of a shipping container from China to Singapore. It’s usually the most cost-effective shipping option for large consignments occupying at least six pallets in a 20ft container or 12 standard pallets in a 40ft container.

Air Freight from China to Singapore

For the quickest way to ship freight from China to Singapore, choose air freight. It’s speedy, but is also the most expensive mode of shipping.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From China to Singapore?

Several factors must be considered when an ocean or air freight shipping quote is calculated. These include:

  • How they are to be transported—by air or sea?
  • What are the volume and dimensions of the freight, and its weight?
  • What service is required—door-to-door, port-to-port, port-to-door or door-to-port?

If you can’t decide between ocean and air freight, you can always get quotes for both and compare them. As a general rule, if your consignment weighs under 100kg, there’s unlikely to be much difference between the cost of air cargo and ocean freight. Heavier consignments with a weight of 100 kilograms or more will cost significantly less to ship as ocean freight than as air cargo.

Freight forwarders don’t typically handle loads weighing less than 35 kilograms. You should contact an international courier for a quote if your goods fall into this weight bracket.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From China to Singapore?

Ocean vessels travel at an average speed of 35km/h, while aircraft can reach 900km/h. It’s no surprise that air freight is by far the fastest way to transport goods from China to Singapore.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From China to Singapore?

Your shipment from China to Singapore will follow one of many routes south along China’s east coast and west to Singapore. Naturally, you’ll be wanting to load your pallets at the port nearest your supplier’s warehouse. Below is a guide to the estimated transit times by sea from your chosen port in China to Singapore. Any road or rail freight transit times will need to be added to those stated.

Warehouse operative using mobile device to sort cartons for shipping from China to Singapore, with managers in background

  • From Guangzhou—12 days LCL
  • From Chongqing—21 days FCL
  • From Fuzhou—15 days LCL
  • From Huangpu—10 days FCL
  • From Nansha—9 days FCL
  • From Shanghai—14 days FCL, 11 days LCL
  • From Shekou— 6 days FCL
  • From Shenzhen—31 days FCL, 10 days LCL
  • From Tianjin—31 days FCL
  • From Xiamen—8 days FCL, 13 days LCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From China to Singapore?

Here are some examples of transit times from various airports in China to Singapore International Airport:

  • From Guangzhou or Nanjing—7 days
  • From Shanghai-Pudong or Shenzhen—5 days
  • From Wuhan—14 days
  • From Xiamen—6 days

Customs Clearance in China and Singapore

Customs clearance is one of the most confusing aspects of international trade and shipping. Its complexity often leads businesses to partner with a freight forwarder who will manage the process on their behalf. Forwarders can ensure shipments meet the rules and regulations that affect importing from China to Singapore. They’ll also reduce the chances of avoidable delays affecting your shipment.

However, forwarders still need shippers to play a role in customs clearance by providing the following documents, all of which are likely to be essential if goods for import from China to Singapore are to satisfy the demands of customs officials:

  1. A Commercial Invoice
  2. A Packing List
  3. A Certificate of Origin
  4. A Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. An Airway Bill for air freight or a Bill of Lading for ocean shipping (this will be provided by the carrier or freight forwarder)

This document list page contains examples of the paperwork listed above, so you can see what’s required. You might also need to supply other documents, perhaps a certificate, license, or permit. Much depends on the nature of the goods you’re shipping.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Choose ocean shipping and your goods will be transported from port to port in a shipping container from China to Singapore aboard a cargo vessel. Most sea freight will ship in standard 20ft or 40ft long containers. Under certain circumstances, your freight might require a different type of shipping container. Your freight forwarder will help you to determine if this is the case.

Whatever kind of container is used, the shipper must decide between FCL and LCL freight service. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between LCL and FCL shipping.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping is a good option for your business if your cargo:

  • Will occupy no more than six standard pallets
  • Is not urgently required in Singapore
  • Is suitable for shipping in a shared container

LCL is unlikely to meet the needs of your supply chain if your freight is:

  • Required in Singapore by a certain date
  • Fragile and easily damaged if moved too frequently
  • Not suited to sharing a container with goods belonging to other shippers

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Importing from China to Singapore using an FCL shipping service could be the ideal solution if your freight:

  • Must arrive in Singapore by a specified date
  • Can’t share a shipping container for size, volume, safety, or other reasons
  • Is large enough to fill at least half the capacity of a standard 20ft shipping container

Air Freight

The quickest way to get your freight from China to Singapore is by air, but there are more good reasons to choose air shipping other than speed:

***Nature of consignments:***Freshly-picked perishable goods won’t look so appetizing after a few days or even weeks at sea. Send them by plane, and the shorter transit time will ensure little or no deterioration by the time they reach Singapore. ***Avoidance of delays:***There are plenty of ways ocean freight can get delayed en route from China, especially if you choose LCL shipping. That's why, despite the higher transportation cost, many Singapore importers choose to receive at least some of their shipments as air freight. Size of shipment: There’s little point packing one or two pallets into a huge container and waiting for it to cross the ocean. It may be better value for your business and your supplier to send them as air freight to Singapore Airport. Reduction of risk: The sooner your goods get into your customers’ hands, the less risk there is of something happening during the journey that could cost you.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


Port Facts:

  • A prime location for handling goods bound for Singapore
  • A small port situated in an estuary in Guangdong province
  • Located near to the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea

Owned By: Zhongshan Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNGZSN.


Port Facts:

  • A small port in Guangdong province
  • A river-based facility located on the south bank of the Yangtze River
  • The import and export of goods is a primary industry in an area renowned for its prowess in petrochemical and agrochemical manufacturing

Owned By: Jiujiang Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >100,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNJIU.


Port Facts:

  • A medium-sized river port
  • Guangdong province’s second-largest river port
  • Serves manufacturers and suppliers producing goods as diverse as paper and motorbikes, food and household appliances

Owned By: Hutchison Ports.* Annual Container Volume:>400,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNJMN.


Port Facts:

  • The only major port in Guangdong’s eastern region
  • An important gateway to this manufacturing-focused area of China
  • A natural river port which opens into the South China Sea

Owned By: Shantou Port Affairs Bureau. Annual Container Volume: >1.25 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNSWA.


Port Facts:

  • A huge, globally important port
  • All of the world’s top-20 shipping companies have routes to/from Xiamen
  • Infrastructure includes nine container terminals
  • Has the capacity to handle sixth-generation container vessels

Owned By: Xiamen Port Authority. Annual Container Volume: >10 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: CNXMN.

Other Ports in China

In addition to the gateways listed above, shipping containers bound for Singapore can embark from any of the following Chinese ports:

  • Zhuhai
  • Tianjin
  • Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Shanghai
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou
  • Chongqing
  • Foshan
  • Wuhu
  • Wuhan
  • Qinzhou
  • Qingdao
  • Nanjing
  • Shenzhen
  • Nansha
  • Guangzhou
  • Lianyungang

Cargo Port of Arrival in Singapore


Port Facts:

  • 20% of the world’s shipping containers are shipped from or to Singapore
  • Attracts 130,000 vessels every year
  • Boasts 52 container berths and nearly 200 quay cranes ensuring LCL or FCL freight can be quickly and efficiently loaded or unloaded

***Owned By:***The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Annual Container Volume: >36 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: SGSIN.

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in China


Airport Facts:

  • Located in Western China
  • The fifth-busiest airport in the country
  • In 2018, over 660,000 tonnes of cargo were processed here
  • Your goods could end up aboard one of the passenger flights south to Singapore on a service run by Air China, Silk Air or Sichuan Air

Chengdu to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: CTU.


Airport Facts:

  • The world’s third-busiest freight hub
  • 3.7 million tonnes of freight were processed here in 2018
  • Multiple carriers will fly your goods to Singapore from this airport

Shanghai-Pudong to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: ASL Airlines Belgium, China Cargo Airlines, Suparna Airlines. IATA CODE: PVG.


Airport Facts:

  • The gateway for the Chinese capital
  • Road and rail links to and from this international airport are plentiful
  • Wherever in China your goods are manufactured, it may make sense for your supplier to get them to Beijing and fly them out of the country from there

Beijing-Capital to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: PEK.


Airport Facts:

  • Located 37 kilometers southeast of Zhengzhou
  • Serves the capital of Henan Province
  • Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport opened for business in 1997
  • The highest-volume cargo airport in Central China

Zhengzhou to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: TSN.


Airport Facts:

  • Full name is Wuhan Tianhe International Airport
  • Ideal if your manufacturing hub is based in Central China
  • Freight teams here handle more than 220,000 tonnes of air freight every year

Wuhan to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA CODE: WUH.

Other Airports in China

The handful of airports featured above are by no means the only ones from where you can fly your consignment to Singapore. For example, you may be able to use Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai Hongqiao, Xiamen, or Shenzhen.

Airport of Arrival in Singapore


Airport Facts:

  • Full name is Singapore Changi Airport
  • Skytrax rates Singapore’s airport as the world’s best
  • Located in eastern Singapore
  • The world’s 19th busiest airport

Connected Airports in China: Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Qingdao, Tianjin, Ningbo, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Dalian. China to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: ASL Airlines Belgium, China Cargo Airlines, FedEx Express, SF Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, UPS Airlines. IATA CODE: SIN.

Ocean and Air Shipping From China to Singapore: Why Shipa Freight?

Until now, accessing global freight carriers has been a hassle, especially for companies with limited time and resources to devote to import and export processes. Shipa Freight is designed to speed-up quotations, as well as the booking and tracking of exports from China to Singapore. So now, even if you’re time-pressed and resource-light, your business can benefit from the kind of shipping service the big players have enjoyed for years.

Many traditional freight forwarding companies only pay lip service to digital technology, offering limited online capabilities. Shipa Freight, on the other hand, is a platform created in the 21st Century specifically to make shipping easier and quicker for 21st Century businesses. The platform is the future of freight-forwarding, combining digital ease with human expertise.

Registering is easy. So too is getting a quote and making a booking—and our customer service team is on-hand 24/7 to provide support via email, online chat or telephone.

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Baffling jargon and complicated terminology are often used by shipping experts. That’s fine when communicating with fellow experts, but it can leave shipping novices confused. So to help those new to shipping build an understanding of these terms, we’ve explained a couple below:

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