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Ocean and Air Shipping from Singapore to China

FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote

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Updated on 15 Mar 202213 min read

Singapore was the first Asian country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China. That’s good news for businesses wishing to export commodities from the sovereign island nation to the People’s Republic.

There’s more goods news too, as this page has been written to make importing from Singapore to China as easy as possible. You’ll find guidance about air and ocean shipping, and useful information about transit times, customs clearance, airports, and seaports.

What Are Your Options for Shipping From Singapore to China?

Although it’s possible to import from Singapore to China by road, many shippers opt for air or ocean shipping. This page will tell you more about both, so your business can make an informed decision about the best mode of transportation.

Ocean Freight From Singapore to China

Less than Container Load (LCL): Your goods share a container with other consignments when you choose LCL shipping. If you have a smaller shipment that isn’t enough to fill an entire container, LCL may be your most cost-effective option.

Full Container Load (FCL): You get a container exclusively for your goods when you opt for FCL shipping from Singapore to China. You are not compelled to fill the container. You can ship it partially filled if you wish.

Air Freight From Singapore to China

Air freight is the fastest way to ship freight from Singapore to China. It is, however, the mode of transit that comes with the highest price tag.

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

All of the below will need to be considered before a freight forwarder can give you a quote for your cargo from Singapore to China:

  • The type of freight being shipped
  • How it’s being transported to China (FCL, LCL, or Air?)
  • The weight of the consignment
  • The size and volume of the shipment
  • How far it is between the origin and destination
  • What type of delivery service is required—for example, Port-to-Port or Door-to-Door?

The weight of your goods for import from Singapore to China will affect the cost. For loads weighing 100 kg or over, ocean shipping often works out the most economical option. Consignments weighing under 100 kg will most likely attract a similar price for both ocean and air shipping from Singapore to China. Freight that weighs 35 kg or under is not typically handled by freight forwarders. An international courier company will be the best service provider for shipments in this weight bracket.

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

If you want to export from Singapore to China the fast way, you’ll need to send your freight with an air cargo carrier. Typically, three to eight days is required.

Ocean shipping takes longer, but not significantly so. An FCL shipment from Singapore to Dalian can be completed in just nine days, although 11 to 26 days is more realistic for most FCL or LCL shipments from Singapore to China.

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

A cargo vessel transporting your shipping container from Singapore to China moves at an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour. These vessels can make the 4,550 km journey to Dalian in Northern China in nine days.

Other FCL or LCL shipments from Singapore to China take a little longer. For example, a transit time of 11 days is typical for LCL shipping from Singapore to Shanghai, and 12 days for FCL shipments between the same two ports.

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

Six days is the typical average transit time for air freight from Singapore to China. That’s certainly the case for shipments from Singapore to Shanghai-Pudong International Airport. The flight time is only a small part of the process. There are other essential logistics steps, like the loading and unloading of consignments, security checks, and customs clearance—all of which collectively make up the bulk of the shipping time.

Customs Clearance in Singapore and China

Containers in the customs clearance zone as Shipa Freight helps with customs clearance

All the commodities you import from Singapore to China are subject to customs clearance. Many shippers find it a complicated process that they prefer to leave in the hands of a freight forwarder. It’s a good move to rely on shipping experts if you want to avoid potentially costly delays to your shipment. A forwarder will also ensure your consignment complies with shipping rules and regulations in Singapore and China.

Even with a freight forwarder, you still have a role to play in the customs clearance process, as you’ll be required to supply key documents. These will almost certainly include:

  1. Commercial Invoice

  2. Packing List

  3. Certificate of Origin

  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)

  5. Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Other documents could be required, depending on the nature of the goods you are shipping, so don’t be surprised if you need to provide a certificate, permit, or license.

If you want to take a closer look at those documents we’ve listed above, we’ve compiled a documents list page featuring examples of each.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Shipping a container from Singapore to China as ocean freight is ideal for big consignments, or goods that can’t be transported as air cargo.

A cargo vessel will ship your container from Singapore to your chosen port of arrival in China. Most commodities ship in 20ft or 40ft standard containers which hold 10 to 11 standard pallets and 21 standard pallets respectively.

Your freight forwarder will help you decide which container is best for your sea freight. They will also help you decide between the two modes of containerized ocean shipping available to you—FCL and LCL. We’ve included more information about both below:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping requires your cargo to share a container with products belonging to other shippers. It’s ideal for consignments that occupy no more than six standard pallets.

With LCL, you don’t have to wait until you have enough goods to fill a container. You can ship your freight straight away in a shared container—speeding up your supply chain.

All LCL shipments require time-consuming consolidation and deconsolidation, a logistics necessity that requires more moving and handling of goods than FCL shipping. Something to bear in mind if your goods are fragile and risk being damaged if handled too frequently.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

If your consignment is big enough to fill at least half the load capacity of a 20ft container, FCL is likely to be your best ocean shipping option. FCL shipping gives you the exclusive use of a container unit, and includes transportation of that container from Singapore to China. Because no consolidation or deconsolidation is required, transit times are more predictable and delays less frequent. What’s more, handling of your freight will be minimal compared with LCL shipping.

With an FCL service, you can load and seal your container at the point of origin, and it will remain sealed until received by the consignee in China. That’s unless customs officials intervene with an inspection of the contents.

Air Freight

The quickest way to ship freight from Singapore to China is air shipping. It’s the preferred choice of many businesses with perishables to transport such as food, plants, or flowers.

High-value goods are often better suited to air transportation than ocean shipping, as airlines and airports provide higher levels of security than ocean carriers.

If you have a strict delivery deadline to meet, air freight will again come up trumps. Airlines run stricter schedules than ocean carriers, and flight times aren’t usually affected by weather conditions to the same degree as ocean shipping.

Air freight can also save money on overland transit costs if the recipient in China is located closer to an international airport than a seaport.

Air shipping does have its downsides. The cost can render it too expensive for some shippers, especially those with consignments occupying more than two to three pallets. Exceptionally heavy or bulky cargo cannot be shipped by air, and it’s the same for awkwardly-shaped goods.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Port of Origin in Singapore


Port Facts:

  • Situated on the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula
  • One of the world’s biggest ocean freight hubs, handling about 20% of the world’s containers
  • More than 130,00 cargo vessels call at Singapore each year
  • Links with over 600 ports in 123 countries.
  • The port authority is building a large container terminal which will handle 65 million TEUs
  • Ideal port of origin for any supplier or manufacturer based in Simpang and Serangoon

Owned By: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Annual Container Volume: >37.2 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in China


Port Facts:

  • The East China Sea is to the east of the port and Hangzhou Bay to the south
  • Shanghai became the world’s biggest container port in 2010—overtaking the Port of Singapore
  • Ideal port for goods destined for Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nantong, and elsewhere on the east coast of China

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >42 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Features in the list of the 100 biggest container ports in the world
  • The world’s biggest inland port
  • Situated at the head of the Yangtze Delta

Owned By: Nanjing Port (Group)Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Ideal port of arrival for goods required in Guangdong Province
  • Located just 38 kilometers from Hong Kong
  • One of the world’s biggest container gateways
  • The Port of Shenzhen is 2,609 km from the Port of Singapore

Owned By: Shenzhen Government.

Annual Container Volume: > 25.2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Ranks as the ninth-biggest container-handling facility in the world
  • Northern China’s largest sea freight hub
  • Linked to over 115 ports around the world
  • The port of choice for many shippers with goods required in the Chinese capital of Beijing—just 170 km away

Owned By: Tianjin Port Group Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >16 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Xiamen is China’s eighth-largest ocean freight facility
  • Facilities include nine container terminals and 74 berths
  • A major container gateway that’s only 300 km from Taiwan
  • The Port of Xiamen is 3,000 km from the Port of Singapore

Owned By: Xiamen Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >10 million TEUs.


Other Ports in China

There are many other ports in China, aside from those mentioned above, to which Shipa Freight can direct exports from Singapore. They include:

  • Guangzhou (Nansha)
  • Wuhan
  • Chongqing
  • Lianyungang
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Qingdao
  • Shantou
  • Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airport of Origin in Singapore


Airport Facts:

  • Commonly called Changi Airport
  • Located 20km from downtown Singapore in Marina Bay
  • Electronics form a large percentage of the cargo processed here
  • Rated the world’s best airport by Skytrak every year from 2013 to 2020

China Airports Served: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Tianjin, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Dalian, Fuzhou.

Singapore to the China Cargo-Only Operators: Supama Airlines, ASL Airlines Belgium, FedEx Express, SF Airlines, China Cargo Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, UPS Airlines.


Airports of Arrival in China


Airport Facts:

  • Ranks as the world’s 13th-busiest air cargo facility
  • Located 32 km from central Beijing
  • Around two million tonnes of air freight was handled here in 2018

Connected to Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Beijing-Capital Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Shanghai Pudong

Airport Facts:

  • A crucial air cargo hub in East Asia
  • The third-largest air freight facility in the world
  • Located 30 kilometers east of the city center
  • Awarded ‘best air freight facility on the planet’ status in 2019 by Air Cargo World

Connected to Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Shanghai Pudong Cargo-Only Operators: Supama Airlines, China Cargo Airlines, ASL Airlines Belgium.



Airport Facts:

  • The formal title is Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport
  • Located on the eastern bank of the Pearl River, 32 km northwest of central Shenzhen
  • Connected to Hong Kong Airport, which is just 38 kilometers away
  • Suitable airport of arrival if your goods are required in Guangdong Province

Connected to Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Shenzhen Cargo-Only Operators: UPS Airlines, SF Airlines.



Airport Facts:

  • The official name is Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
  • Only 16 kilometers outside of Chengdu city center
  • China’s fourth-largest air freight facility
  • Chengdu Airport is 3,235 km from Singapore Airport

Connected to Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Chengdu Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Full name is Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport
  • Serves Henan province
  • Ranks as China’s seventh-largest air freight facility
  • Situated 37 kilometers from downtown Zhengzhou
  • Processes more air freight than any other airport in central China
  • More than 500,000 tonnes of freight is handled here every year

Connected to Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Zhengzhou Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in China

Imports from Singapore to China can also arrive at these Chinese airports:

  • Qingdao
  • Guangzhou
  • Nanjing
  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Ningbo
  • Dalian
  • Xiamen
  • Chongqing
  • Fuzhou

Why Ship From Singapore to China With Shipa Freight?

Importing from Singapore to China is easier than ever with Shipa Freight’s online platform. Our international shipping experience will ensure your shipment arrives safely in China, whether it’s transported by air or ocean.

We’ve developed a state-of-the-art digital service that speeds up supply chains and allows customers to manage all imports and exports from our website.

Partnering with us brings other benefits too, such as the following:

  • Quick, uncomplicated registration for new customers
  • Rapid quotes
  • Booking and payment online in a few simple steps
  • We help you identify and complete the shipping documentation your consignment requires
  • No need to worry about customs clearance—we’ll handle it
  • 24/7 customer support from our friendly team
  • We’ll ensure your consignment complies with international shipping rules and regulations

Know Your Shipping Terminology

To help you build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’ve explained the meaning of two potentially confusing terms used in the industry. You’ll find those explanations below:

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