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Ocean and Air Shipping from Sinagpore to India

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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Updated on 09 Feb 202212 min read

Singapore exported $11.4 billion worth of goods to India in 2019 according to the UN’s COMTRADE database. The goods most commonly exported were electronic equipment, machinery, and boilers.

Your enterprise may well be involved in the trade of such items or one of the thousands of other products businesses are constantly importing from Singapore to India. If so, the information on this page will be of interest.

It features profiles of Singapore’s port and airport, and a selection of ports and airports in India. It also provides information about customs clearance as well as the cost of shipments and the time required to ship goods for export from Singapore to India.

In addition, you will find guidance here on customs clearance requirements and how freight forwarders can assist your business with multiple aspects of the international shipping process.

What Are Your Options for Freight From Singapore to India?

Although it is possible to transport goods between these two countries by road, the journey is long and requires crossing multiple borders. That’s why many businesses opt for ocean and air shipping from Singapore to India. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both modes of transportation.

Ocean Freight From Singapore to India

Less than Container Load (LCL): If your goods can safely share a container with other freight and they won’t fill more than half the space of a standard container, LCL shipping could be your best option. The process can take longer than FCL because the logistics essentials of consolidation and deconsolidation will be required in Singapore and the port of arrival in India.

Full Container Load (FCL): Transporting a shipping container from Singapore to India by FCL service entails paying a flat fee for the exclusive use of a container and its transportation aboard a cargo ship. You can fill the container with as many or as few goods as you need. FCL shipping is typically quicker and, if your freight quantities are large, often less expensive than LCL.

Air Freight from Singapore to India

Air freight is by far the quickest, but also the most expensive way of transporting goods for import from Singapore to India. Imports sent as air freight can arrive in India in as little as one day. Businesses will often choose air freight when their goods are urgently required in India or their shipment is small enough to occupy only a few standard pallets.

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

When you ask for a shipping quote, the freight forwarder will require several pieces of information about your consignment to calculate the cost. The details requested will include:

  • The origin and destination of the shipment
  • Whether LCL or FCL is the chosen mode of shipping
  • How much the goods weigh
  • The volume and dimensions of the goods
  • The type of delivery service desired— for example, you can typically choose from door-to-door, door-to-port, port-to-door, or port-to-port services

Cost-wise, ocean shipping offers the best option for goods weighing over 100kg. That’s because a large shipment of air freight is likely to cost many times more than shipping the same volume with an ocean carrier. For goods of a total weight under 100kg, the price difference between air and ocean carriers is negligible.

If the weight of your goods is under 35kg, air or ocean freight services are not really an option, and you’ll need to engage an international courier company to ship them for you.

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

Air freight is by far the quickest way to export from Singapore to India. Even the slowest air-freight shipping times are faster than the shortest ocean shipping durations.

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

Below are some sample transit times applicable when shipping a container from Singapore to India by sea:

  • To Bangalore—21 days FCL
  • To Chennai—17 days FCL, 10 days LCL
  • To Kolkata—15 days LCL
  • To Nhava Sheva—11 days FCL, 12 days LCL
  • To Tuticorin—15 days FCL

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

The air-freight transit time examples below show how much faster it is to ship air freight from Singapore to India when compared with ocean shipping:

  • To Ahmedabad or Chennai—*5 days *
  • To Bangalore or Delhi—6 days
  • To Cochin— 2 days
  • To Mumbai—3 days

Customs Clearance in Singapore and India

All shipping will be subject to customs clearance in Singapore and the port or airport of arrival in India. Such is the complexity of the process, many businesses opt to get a freight forwarder to manage the task. It’s a good move as the skills and knowledge of forwarders reduces the risk of avoidable delays affecting your shipment. A forwarder also has the know-how to ensure your consignment complies with customs shipping rules and regulations in Singapore and India.

Even when a shipper hires the services of a forwarder, the seller and buyer will still need to play a role in the customs clearance procedure. They’ll need to supply information that’s essential to fill in the following customs documentation:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  • Airway Bill for air cargo, or a Bill of Lading for ocean freight (Shipa Freight provides these documents for its customers)

Additional documents may be necessary, in the form of certificates, permits, or licenses. Much depends on the nature of the goods being transported. To see samples of the paperwork we’ve listed above, please visit our document list page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

If your goods aren’t urgently required by the recipient, the 10- to 21-day duration of ocean shipping should meet the needs of your supply chain. Most goods will ship from port to port and onwards inside a standard 20ft or 40ft container that opens at one end. Some goods may require a container that’s taller or wider.

Other types of sea freight may need a container with refrigeration or ventilation capabilities. Your forwarder will advise you on the best solution for your consignment. Another decision to be made when shipping a container from Singapore to India is between FCL and LCL shipping. Let’s take a look at both:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Less Than Container Load (LCL) presents an ideal way to export from Singapore to India for goods that:

  • Are of a total volume no greater than 14 CBM (about half the capacity of a standard container)
  • Are not needed urgently in India
  • Can be safely shipped in the same container as other goods
  • Cannot be shipped as air freight

Importing from Singapore to India using an LCL service requires the freight to be consolidated with goods belonging to other shippers. This logistics necessity often means LCL shipping takes longer than FCL. Deconsolidation is also required upon arrival in India, adding further time to the shipping process.

Businesses tend to avoid LCL shipping when:

  • They are shipping food, plants, flowers, or other perishable goods
  • Their goods are high-value
  • Their freight is delicate and risks being damaged if moved or handled regularly during shipping
  • They cannot afford shipping delays
  • Their goods are suited to shipping in the same container as other shippers’ cargo

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Full Container Load (FCL) shipping could be your best ocean shipping option if:

  • Your goods are needed in India by a specific but non-urgent date
  • You can load and seal your shipping container in Singapore
  • Your consignee in India has the facilities to unload the container
  • The total volume of your consignment is over 14 CBM
  • Your freight is best shipped in a container on its own, away from other goods

Air Freight

Air shipping is the preferred mode of transportation when importing from Singapore to India for businesses with: Perishable goods that need to arrive in India as soon as possible A consignee in India who needs the products urgently Cargo that occupies no more than three or four pallets High-value goods that need strict security measures in place, such as those provided by airport operators and airlines

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Port of Origin in Singapore


Port Facts:

Situated on the Malay Peninsula Around 20% of shipping containers in the world are processed here Over 130,000 ocean vessels call here every year Singapore is connected with more than 600 ports across 123 countries A container terminal with the capacity to handle 65 million TEUs per year is under construction

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

Cargo Ports of Arrival in India

Nhava Sheva

Port Facts:

  • Official name is Jawaharlal Nehru Port
  • Initially built to handle overflow freight from the nearby Port of Mumbai
  • Now a major port in its own right, processing more than half of India’s containerized goods
  • Ideal port of unloading for freight from Singapore that’s bound for Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, or any other destination in Maharashtra

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


Port Facts:

India’s first privately-owned port when it opened in 2002 In the same region of Northwestern India as the busier ports of Nhava Sheva and Mumbai The port has two berths and eight cranes for unloading container vessels Ideal if your shipment from Singapore is required in Surat, Rajkot, or other cities in Gujarat in Northwest India

Owned By: A.P. Moller Maersk Group. Annual Container Volume: >880,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INPAV.


Port Facts:

  • Situated on the Coromandel Coast in Southeastern India
  • The second-biggest container port in India
  • One of the closest Indian ports to Singapore
  • The year to March 2019 was a record-breaker for the port, with over 15.7 million TEUs processed

Owned By: Chennai Port Trust, Ministry of Shipping. Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INMAA.


Port Facts:

  • A privately-owned ocean cargo hub
  • Located north of Chennai and offering shippers an alternative to the Port of Chennai
  • Provides expertise in handling a diverse range of cargo including steel and agricultural products
  • Is connected to congestion-free approach roads, unlike the busier neighboring port

Owned By: Adani Group. Annual Container Volume: >493,000 TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INKTP.


Port Facts:

  • Situated on the northern shore of the Gulf of Kachchh
  • The port consists of two areas: South Port and West Port, which are 15 kilometers apart
  • Has five container terminals which can handle the biggest ocean vessels

Owned By: Adani Group. Annual Container Volume: >4.2 million TEUs. UN/LOCODE: INMUN.

Other Destination Ports in India

As well as the ports mentioned above, you can choose to ship your container from Singapore via these other ports on the Indian subcontinent:

  • Haldia
  • Krishnapatnam
  • Mormugao
  • Cochin
  • Kolkata
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Hazira
  • Tuticorin

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airport of Origin in Singapore


Airport Facts:

  • Sometimes referred to as Changi Airport
  • Situated just 20 kilometers outside of Marina Bay in downtown Singapore
  • Ideal for any supplier based on the Malay Peninsula
  • Ranks as the world’s eighth-largest freight hub for international cargo

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

Airports of Arrival in India


Airport Facts:

  • The full name of the facility is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport
  • Close to one million tonnes of air cargo is processed here annually
  • Cargo apron accommodates up to five wide-body airplanes at once
  • Facilities include a state-of-the-art cold storage facility

Connected to Singapore Airport?: Yes. Singapore to Mumbai Cargo-Only Operators: Atlas Air, Singapore Airlines Cargo. IATA Code: BOM.


Airport Facts:

  • Located in Eastern India
  • About 20 kilometers outside of Chennai city center
  • India’s third-largest airport for cargo capacity
  • Infrastructure includes two runways

*Connected to Singapore Airport?: *Yes. Singapore to Chennai Cargo-Only Operators: Singapore Airlines Cargo. IATA Code: MAA.


Airport Facts:

  • Officially called Kempegowda International Airport
  • Serves the capital of the state of Karnataka
  • Was the state’s first fully solar-powered air facility
  • Occupies a 1,600-hectare site

Connected to Singapore Airport?: Yes. Singapore to Bangalore Cargo-Only Operators: Singapore Airlines Cargo. IATA Code: BLR.


Airport Facts:

  • Sometimes referred to as Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Located 16 kilometers outside of New Delhi
  • India’s busiest airport for cargo traffic
  • Strong road and rail links to locations across Northern and Central India

Connected to Singapore Airport?: Yes. Singapore to Delhi Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: DEL.


Airport Facts:

  • The first fully solar-powered airport in the world
  • Named a ‘Champion of the Earth’ in 2018 by the United Nations
  • Facilities include one air cargo terminal covering 20 hectares
  • Has a dedicated cold storage area for perishables

Connected to Singapore Airport?: Yes. Singapore to Cochin Cargo-Only Operators: None. IATA Code: COK.

Other Arrival Airports in India

Other airports in India where shipments from Singapore can be received include Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata.

Why Ship From Singapore to India With Shipa Freight?

Shipa freight’s digital platform makes moving goods from Singapore to India easier than ever. Our website has features that put Shipa Freight at the cutting edge of freight forwarding. You can rely on us to bring convenience to booking, managing, and tracking international shipments.

Trust us to simplify your supply chain by managing ocean freight and air cargo from Singapore to India. Other benefits we bring to international shippers include:

  • Easy online registration
  • Quick quote service
  • Online bookings and payments
  • Professional guidance regarding the shipping documents your consignment needs
  • Customs clearance management
  • 24/7 access to a professional team of customer service agents
  • Assurance that freight complies with rules and regulations in Singapore and India

Know Your Shipping Terminology

To help build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’re ending our country-to-country pages with definitions of potentially confusing terms and jargon. It’s a great chance to familiarize yourself with the ‘lingo’ so you can communicate your needs more effectively.

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