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Ocean & Air Freight Shipping From India to Singapore

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Updated on 10 Feb 202212 min read

Ocean and Air Freight Shipping From India to Singapore

Singapore is India’s fourth-largest export market, accounting for 2.5% of the Subcontinent’s total exports in 2019. You may already be importing from India to Singapore, or looking to export for the first time. Whatever your reason for seeking more information about shipping freight from India to Singapore, this page contains facts and guidance that will come in handy.

You’ll discover information about ocean and air shipping, along with details about India’s major ports and airports. The page also focuses on the port and airport in Singapore, and how long it takes to ship goods to this destination.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From India to Singapore?

Although it’s possible to import from India to Singapore using overland transportation, the 5,970 km journey is long and passes through multiple countries. Therefore, many businesses choose to ship their goods with an air or ocean carrier instead. Let’s take a closer look at both modes of shipping.

Ocean Freight From India to Singapore

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL is a mode of container shipping that’s ideal for smaller consignments. It involves combining your goods with those of other shippers in a shared container which is shipped on an ocean vessel from India to Singapore.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL shipping involves paying a flat rate for the exclusive use of a shipping container and its shipment from India to Singapore.

Air Freight from India to Singapore

Air freight offers the fastest but most expensive way to export from India to Singapore. It’s a good option if ocean shipping isn’t quick enough to meet the needs of your supply chain.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Freight From India to Singapore?

Calculating the cost of shipping freight from India to Singapore requires consideration of many variables. These include:

  • The weight of the freight
  • The size and volume of the cargo
  • The distance it needs to be transported
  • The chosen mode of transportation (air or ocean)
  • If a port-to-port, port-to-door, door-to-port, or door-to-door service is required

If your shipment is small enough to occupy less than half the capacity of a standard 20ft container, LCL ocean shipping is likely to be the most economical option. Bigger loads can be sent by FCL service in a shipping container from India to Singapore. This will usually cost less per unit as FCL shipping involves paying a flat rate for each container.

Air freight offers a more expensive shipping option, although if your goods weigh 100kg or less, you’re likely to find it costs around the same to fly your freight as to ship it by ocean.

Shipa Freight and many other freight forwarders do not quote for shipments weighing 35 kg or less, but international couriers will.

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

However you plan to transport your goods from India to Singapore, you should allow at least two days for air shipping and up to 17 days for ocean shipping.

Even though the flight time between India and Singapore is only around five hours, the complete transportation process takes longer. That’s because air cargo must undergo:

  • Consolidation at the airport of origin in India
  • Export customs procedures
  • Unloading at Singapore Airport
  • Import customs clearance procedures

Shipping a container from India to Singapore by ocean takes much longer—typically between seven and 17 days. Transit times depend on the location of the port of departure in India, and whether the ocean carrier makes additional stops on the journey to Singapore. Of course, the speed of transit plays a part in the difference between ocean and air shipping. Ocean vessels average a speed of 35 km/h while aircraft can reach 970 km/h.

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

Typical shipping durations to Singapore from India’s key ports are:

  • From Chennai – 17 days FCL, 9 days LCL
  • From Cochin or Krishnapatnam – 14 days FCL
  • From Haldia – 11 days FCL
  • From Kolkata – 7 days FCL, 9 days LCL
  • From Mundra – 16 days FCL
  • From Nhava Sheva – 12 days FCL and LCL

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

Air freight shipping durations to Singapore Airport from India’s key international airports are:

  • From Ahmedabad or Delhi – 4 days
  • From Bangalore or Hyderabad – 5 days
  • From Chennai or Mumbai – 6 days
  • From Cochin – 3 days
  • From Coimbatore – 8 days

Customs Clearance in India and Singapore

Most commercial importers find customs clearance rules the most complicated aspect of ocean and air shipping from India to Singapore. Yet it’s something for which all shippers must be prepared.

Air or ocean carriers won’t take responsibility for getting goods cleared at customs checkpoints in India and Singapore, but a freight forwarder will. That’s why so many shippers choose to engage freight forwarders to help them.

As an international trader, you will be required to supply your forwarder with information to complete the following documents that must accompany your freight from India to Singapore:

  1. Commercial Invoice
  2. Packing List
  3. Certificate of Origin
  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depending on the contract between the parties involved)
  5. Airway Bill for air freight or Bill of Lading for ocean freight. (Ask your freight forwarder for these)

The above list is by no means exhaustive. You might also need to supply certificates, permits, or licenses for the merchandise you are shipping. Please see our Shipping Documents page for samples of the forms listed above and more information about them.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Typically, ocean shipping offers businesses the most affordable way to transport goods between India and Singapore. If the recipient of the consignment can wait between seven and 17 days to receive the cargo, ocean freight is a good option.

Most commodities transported as sea freight will be moved from port to port by ship, packed inside a standard 20ft shipping container. Your freight forwarder will advise if another type of container is required for your freight.

You can choose between two methods of ocean shipping: LCL or FCL. To help you work out which best meets your needs, we’ve included information about both below:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is likely to be the best way to ship ocean freight from India to Singapore if:

  • You don’t mind your goods being shipped in the same container as other shippers’ cargo.
  • The size of your consignment is less than half the capacity of a standard 20ft shipping container.
  • You can’t wait until you have enough goods to fill an entire container.
  • You understand that LCL can lead to longer shipping times. This is due to consolidation, deconsolidation, and possible delays caused by problems with other shippers’ goods.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL shipping services don’t necessitate filling a container with goods. You can ship as few or as many goods as you like, as you’ll be paying a flat rate for use of the container and its shipping from India to Singapore.

Many shippers choose FCL when:

  • They need quicker ocean shipping transit times than LCL usually offers
  • They want a container for their goods, and their goods alone
  • Their cargo is fragile and will benefit from minimal handling and moving

Air Freight

Air shipping is faster and more expensive than ocean shipping. The larger your consignment, the more it’s likely to cost to fly it from India to Singapore. That said, many businesses choose air freight as their primary mode of transportation, especially when:

  • Delivery deadlines are tight
  • The goods being shipped are of high value
  • The cargo is delicate, perishable, or fragile
  • They want the peace of mind brought by strict airline and airport security measures
  • The shipment fills no more than one to three standard pallets

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in India


Port Facts

  • Located in Gujarat in Western India
  • Ranked 37th in Lloyds 2020 list of the world’s top-100 container ports
  • The largest privately-owned port in India
  • An ideal gateway for goods leaving the North or Northwest of India
  • Facilities include four container terminals
  • 35 international ocean freight trade lanes serve the port

Owned By: Adani Group. Annual Container Volume: >4.7 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INMUN.


Port Facts

  • Located north of Chennai
  • Built to ease congestion at the port of Chennai
  • Congestion free approach roads 24/7
  • Handles the world’s largest bulk carriers
  • Six-lane gate complex for faster vehicle turnaround

Owned By: Kattupalli Port Private Ltd. Annual Container Volume: >345,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INKAT.

Nhava Sheva

Port Facts

  • Also known as Jawaharlal Nehru Port
  • Formerly an overflow facility for the nearby Mumbai Port
  • Now the largest port in India
  • Over half of India’s container traffic passes through the port
  • Easily accessible for any supplier based in Western and Central India

Owned By: Government of India. Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INNSA.


Port Facts

  • Situated 30 kilometers outside of Surat
  • Easily accessed if your supply chain uses the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor
  • Approach roads are usually free from traffic congestion

Owned By: Hazira Port Private Ltd. Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INHZR.


Port Facts

  • Situated in Southeastern India in the Gulf of Mannar
  • Located close to the South East Shipping Route, connecting India with Singapore
  • About seven percent of India’s container traffic is handled here
  • Geographically closer to Singapore than many Indian ports

Owned By: V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust. Annual Container Volume: >560,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INTUT.

Other Ports in India

Additional ports in India to consider for your shipments to Singapore include:

  • Kandla
  • Haldia
  • Cochin
  • Pipavav
  • Chennai
  • Mormugao
  • Kolkata
  • Krishnapatnam
  • Visakhapatnam

Cargo Port of Arrival in Singapore


Port Facts:

  • Located in Pasir Panjang on the Malay Peninsula
  • The world’s second-largest port for TEU capacity
  • Around 20% of the world’s shipping containers are shipped to or from the port
  • Over 130,00 ocean cargo vessels call here annually
  • A new container terminal is under construction

Owned By: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. Annual Container Volume: >37.2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: SGSIN.

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in India


Airport Facts

  • Located 24 kilometers south of Hyderabad
  • Infrastructure includes two runways
  • Features the biggest cool container handling facility in India
  • Teams here are experts at handling large and odd-shaped freight
  • Offers the fastest air-freight shipping time between India and Singapore

Direct Flights to Singapore? Yes Hyderabad to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: Turkish Airlines Cargo. IATA Code: HYD.


Airport Facts

  • Also known as Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • The site spans more than 2,000 hectares
  • Handles over 2,000 kg of cargo every minute
  • Infrastructure includes two integrated cargo terminals and a logistics center

Direct Flights to Singapore? Yes Delhi to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: DEL.


Airport Facts

  • Serves India’s southern states
  • The nation’s third-busiest airport
  • A new freight center is currently under construction

Direct Flights to Singapore? Yes Chennai to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: Singapore Airlines Cargo. IATA CODE: MAA.


Airport Facts

  • Handles around 900,000 tonnes of freight per year
  • Official name is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport
  • Five dedicated parking bays for air freighters
  • Temperature-controlled storage facilities for pharmaceuticals

Direct Flights to Singapore? Yes Mumbai to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: Singapore Airlines Cargo. IATA Code: BOM.


Airport Facts

  • Official name is Kempegowda International Airport
  • Ideal airport if your supply chain moves goods from Southern and Central India
  • Has two runways and three cargo terminals
  • Connected with 35 global destinations, including Singapore
  • Types of cargo processed here include perishables, pharma, and electronics

Direct Flights to Singapore? Yes Bangalore to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: DHL Aviation. IATA Code: BLR.

Other Airports in India

Below are some other airports in India from which freight can be flown to Singapore:

  • Ahmedabad
  • Kolkata
  • Jaipur
  • Pune
  • Cochin
  • Coimbatore

Airport of Arrival in Singapore


Airport Facts:

  • Its full name is Singapore Changi Airport
  • The world’s eighth-largest international air cargo hub
  • Located 20 kilometers from Marina Bay
  • Occupies a 13 square-kilometer site
  • A 70-hectare Free Trade Zone
  • Offers extensive cold chain storage solutions

Connected Airports in India: Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam. India to Singapore Cargo-Only Operators: DHL Aviation, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Turkish Airlines Cargo. IATA CODE: SIN.

Why Ship From India to Singapore With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight is an online, technology-driven freight forwarder. Our platform saves time for your business by helping you to streamline your international logistics. It allows you to get quick quotes and make speedy bookings for ocean and air shipping from India to Singapore.

Other benefits we bring businesses with supply chains in Asia include:

  • Easy-to-access digital shipping services
  • Straightforward completion and submission of essential shipping and customs documents
  • Customs clearance experts and compliance technology to help avoid shipping delays
  • 24/7 access to a friendly customer support team
  • A global network of resources and assets provided by Agility Logistics
  • Freedom to manage shipments any time via our digital platform

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Some of the jargon and complicated terminology used by shipping experts can be confusing. To help build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’re explaining some of the confusing terms in common usage on our country-to-country pages. Two examples are below.

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