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Ocean and Air Shipping From Singapore to the US

Information and quote from Singapore to the US for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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Updated on 15 Mar 202213 min read

][Imports from Singapore to the United States totaled over $31 billion in 2018. That makes the US Singapore’s fifth-biggest trade partner.

Your business could already be using an international carrier to transport goods between the two countries. Or you may be seeking to do so for the first time. Either way, this page is for you. It’s full of information and guidance that could help you export from Singapore to the US with greater ease.

What Are the Options for Shipping Freight From Singapore to the US?

Freight forwarding professional in orange top, leaning on a stack of cartons, adjacent to the flags of Singapore and the US

Ocean Freight From Singapore to the US

Less than Container Load (LCL): To ship commercial goods by LCL means transporting them aboard a cargo vessel in a shared container. It’s a cost-effective way of importing from Singapore to the US if your shipments are not large.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL gives shippers exclusive use of a container. Businesses pay a flat fee for the container which they can fill or part-fill. This form of shipping can sometimes be quicker and cheaper than LCL, especially for larger shipments.

Air Freight from Singapore to the US

If speed matters more to your business than cost, air shipping is for you. It’s the fastest way to ship freight from Singapore to the US but it is usually much more expensive than ocean freight.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Singapore to the US?

To calculate the cost of your shipment and give you a quote, freight forwarders will take into account all of the following:

  • The nature of the goods you are shipping
  • Your chosen mode of transportation (LCL, FCL or Air)
  • The weight of your freight
  • How big your cargo is
  • How far it is between Singapore and your chosen destination in the US
  • The type of delivery service you want (such as Port-to-Port or Door-to-Door)

To give you an idea of costs, it’s usually the case that quotes for air freight and ocean freight will be similar when you ship goods weighing less than 100 kg. For goods weighing over 100 kg, sea freight typically works out to be more economical than air shipping.

Shipa Freight doesn’t handle cargo weighing 35 kg or less. For this type of consignment, you should seek the assistance of an international courier.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Singapore to the US?

There are precious few direct flights from Singapore to the United States. It’s over 14,000km to the US west coast, and even further to the east coast.

Generally, air shipping between Singapore and the US can be completed in five to eight days. That includes flight time, security checks, customs clearance and other processes essential to international goods transportation.

The time taken to send a shipping container from Singapore to the US by sea is considerably longer—typically between 26 and 40 days.

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

Below are examples of typical shipping durations for ocean freight from Singapore to the US:

  • Singapore to Detroit – 36 days FCL
  • Singapore to Long Beach – 38 days FCL
  • Singapore to Los Angeles – 32 days FCL, 27 days LCL
  • Singapore to Miami – 40 days FCL
  • Singapore to New York – 26 days FCL
  • Singapore to Norfolk – 30 days FCL

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

Shipping air freight from Singapore to the US typically takes five to eight days as the following examples show:

  • Singapore to Los Angeles – 5 to 6 days
  • Singapore to New York – 8 days
  • Singapore to San Francisco – 6 days

Customs Clearance Procedures in Singapore and the US

Customs stamp of wood and rubber, resting on a customs invoice document stamped with export customs clearance in red ink

Every shipment of commercial goods is subject to customs rules and regulations. Many businesses choose to leave this complex side of shipping to freight forwarders. It’s a good move as your business benefits from their expertise, which reduces the chances of needless delays. It also helps ensure that whatever you want to import from Singapore to the US complies with local and international shipping laws.

But your freight forwarder can’t do all the work. You will still need to supply certain documents to accompany your shipping through customs checks. Typically, customs officials will require the following:

  • A commercial invoice
  • A packing list
  • A certificate of origin
  • A letter of credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
  • A bill of lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

Other paperwork such as licenses, permits, or certificates may also be required. Your freight forwarder will be able to advise you of what’s needed. To learn more about the documents we’ve listed above, and to see samples of them, please visit our handy documents list page.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Transporting a container from Singapore to the US is a long haul. Typically, ocean carriers will cross the Pacific Ocean to transport your goods to ports on the West Coast of the United States. To reach a port on the Eastern and Southern seaboard of the US, they’ll go in the opposite direction from Singapore, heading west across the Atlantic Ocean.

Your goods are highly likely to be suitable for transit in a standard container that comes in 20ft or 40ft-long variations. Should your sea freight require a specialist container, such as an open-top or refrigerated container, your freight forwarder will advise. There are two types of ocean shipping: LCL and FCL. What’s best for you often depends on the size and weight of your goods.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

Less Than Container Load (LCL) shipping will usually be the right option for you if:

  • Your consignment is 14 CBM or less (enough to fill about six standard pallets).
  • Choosing a container size is a hassle you could do without.
  • Your goods are suitable to be shipped alongside other goods in a container.
  • Sending your goods as air freight is not an option.
  • You don’t need your goods shipped from supplier to consignee in a rush.

It’s worth knowing some of the downsides of LCL shipping, such as the consolidation and deconsolidation processes that need to occur. These logistics essentials can add extra time to shipping, meaning a longer wait for your goods to reach the US than if you shipped them as FCL or air freight.
Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.

It might be worth avoiding LCL shipping if:

  • You are sending perishable, delicate, or high-value goods to the United States.
  • Your consignment isn’t suited to being moved or handled frequently.
  • You can’t afford any delays that could lead you to miss your delivery date.
  • Your goods are large and/or very heavy.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Usually, Full Container Load (FCL) shipping is a good option if:

  • You’ve got a specific date on which your cargo needs to be in the US.
  • Your cargo isn’t suited to being shipped in a shared container.
  • You’re shipping more than 14 CBM (approximately half the capacity of a 20ft container).
  • Your cargo is heavy or fragile.
  • You want to seal your container in Singapore and have it remain sealed until reaching the recipient.

Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.

Air Freight

Choosing air shipping is usually the best option if:

  • Your cargo has a short shelf-life—such as plants, food, or flowers.
  • Your shipping is urgent and needs to be in the US as quickly as possible.
  • Your goods are valuable and need to be transported under the highest levels of security.
  • Your consignment is small and light, maybe a few pallets at most.
  • Your supplier in Singapore and recipient in the US are both based closer to an international airport than a seaport.

Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Port of Origin in Singapore


Port Facts:

  • Located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.
  • About 20% of the world’s shipping containers are shipped from or to Singapore.
  • Over 130,00 vessels call at the port each year.
  • Connected to more than 600 ports in 123 countries.
  • Shipping to the US can be completed in 26 to 40 days.
  • A large container terminal with the capacity to handle 65 million TEUs is under construction.

Owned By: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Annual Container Volume: >37.2 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in the US

Los Angeles

Port Facts:

  • Located in San Pedro Bay.
  • The number one container port in the US since 2000.
  • North America’s largest trade gateway.
  • Digital technology delivers reliability for shippers and supply chain partners.
  • It features eight container terminals and more than 80 cranes.

Owned By: City of Los Angeles.

Annual Container Volume: >9 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Part of the Port of Virginia.
  • Located on the banks of the Elizabeth River.
  • Situated in the heart of the cultural and commercial center of Hampton Roads.
  • Adjacent to Interstates 64 and 564 for easy onward distribution of goods from Singapore.

Owned By: Virginia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.9 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Saw an 11% increase in container traffic in 2019.
  • Biggest container port in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Handles nearly 70% of sea freight moving through the Gulf.
  • It generates over 20% of Texas’ total gross domestic product.

Owned By: Port of Houston Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.9 million TEUs.


New Orleans

Port Facts:

  • Located on the Mississippi near the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Direct access to major inland hubs via waterways to Memphis, Chicago, and Canada.
  • Offers seamless integrated logistics solutions via rail, road, and river.
  • Four new cranes ordered in 2019 to boost container handling capacity are under construction.

Owned By: The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans.

Annual Container Volume: >590,000 TEUs.


Port Everglades

Port Facts

  • Situated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, close to Fort Lauderdale Airport.
  • One of Florida’s leading seaports for containerized cargo.
  • 12th-busiest container port in the US.
  • It’s the location of Florida’s first and largest foreign trade zone
  • Serves more than 150 ports in 70 countries.
  • Under 2km from the Atlantic shipping lane.

Owned By: Broward County, Florida.

Annual Container Volume: >1 million TEUs.


Other Ports in the US

In addition to the five ports mentioned above, the following container gateways can accept imports into the US from Singapore:

  • New York
  • Oakland
  • Savannah
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Atlanta
  • Charleston
  • Long Beach
  • Tacoma|
  • Miami
  • Mobile

Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airport of Origin in Singapore


Airport Facts:

  • Also known as Changi Airport.
  • Located 20km from Marina Bay in downtown Singapore.
  • Ranked the world’s best global air cargo hub for facilities, performance, and value.
  • Eighth-largest cargo hub in the world for international freight

US Airports Served: Los Angeles, San Francisco.

Singapore to the US Cargo-Only Operators: Cargolux, DHL Aviation, Singapore Airlines Cargo, FedEx Express.


Airports of Arrival in the US

Los Angeles

Airport Facts:

  • Serves Southern California, the world’s 11th-largest economy.
  • The majority of imports arrive in the holds of passenger planes.
  • Over two million tonnes of freight passed through LAX in 2018.
  • 1,000 flights with cargo onboard arrive daily.
  • Apparel, computer equipment, fish, textiles, and footwear are the goods imported in the largest quantities.

Direct Flights from Singapore Airport? Yes.

Singapore to Los Angeles Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Ranked the fifteenth-busiest freight airport in the world.
  • Handles the biggest volume of international freight among all airports in the US.
  • Provides services to more than 160 cities on four continents.

Direct Flights from Singapore Airport? No.

Singapore to Miami Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Chicago O’Hare

Airport Facts:

  • Ranked the 3rd-biggest air freight hub in the US.
  • Processes just under 2 million tonnes of cargo every year.
  • Freight terminal occupies an 185,000 square meter site.
  • Aprons can accommodate up to 15 wide-bodied cargo aircraft simultaneously.

Direct Flights from Singapore Airport? No.

Singapore to Chicago O’Hare Cargo-Only Operators: None.


New York JFK

Airport Facts:

  • Handles the highest cargo volume entering the United States.
  • Situated in the Queens district of New York.
  • Features two pairs of parallel runways at right angles.
  • A new state-of-the-art animal handling terminal—The Ark— is under construction at the airport with vets, kennels, and facilities for all kinds of domestic and wild animals.

Direct Flights from Singapore Airport? No.

Singapore to New York JFK Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Full name is Cincinnati/North Kentucky International Airport.
  • Located in Hebron, Kentucky, southwest of downtown Cincinnati.
  • Fastest-growing cargo hub in North America.

Direct Flights from Singapore Airport? No.

Singapore to Cincinnati Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in the US

Besides the five airports mentioned above, you can also fly your cargo from Singapore to the following airports in the US:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • El Paso
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Cleveland
  • Atlanta
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Sacramento
  • Boston
  • Detroit

Why Ship From Singapore to the US With Shipa Freight?

Shipa freight makes moving goods from Singapore to the United States easier than you might think. Our digitally-focused platform puts us at the leading edge of freight forwarding. We give shippers the chance to experience the convenience of booking, managing, and tracking international shipping online.

We’re equally at home managing ocean freight from Singapore to the US as we are air freight. And we offer door-to-door, port-to-port, port-to-door and door-to-port deliveries.

The benefits of partnering with Shipa Freight are:

  • Easy registration.
  • Quick quotes.
  • Online booking and payment.
  • Receive guidance regarding the shipping documents you need to prepare.
  • We manage customs complexities for you.
  • You can manage all your imports and exports in one place.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives available 24/7.
  • Compliance with shipping rules and regulations assured.

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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