International Shipping from Australia to Singapore: an eCommerce Guide

Benedict Leong

Merlion with Marina Bay Sands in the background

Singaporeans have some of the highest spending power in Southeast Asia. Business-friendly policies and Singapore’s strategic position between trade lanes in Southeast Asia has turned it into an economic powerhouse.

In our recent article on Singapore consumer trends for Australian brands, we covered that Singapore has strong spending power, a love for international brands, and its eCommerce market’s low barriers to entry making it a great opportunity for Aussie brands to break into.

If you’re looking to expand to Singapore via cross-border eCommerce, it makes sense to test the market first through cross-border shipping before committing to heavier commitment supply chain strategies like local distribution.

But how exactly do B2C parcels from Australia reach the Little Red Dot?

Shipping Your B2C Parcels from Australia to Singapore in 4 Steps

B2C parcel shipments tend to follow similar steps, although the nitty-gritty can differ between shipping partners. If you’re shipping with Janio Asia, here’s how your parcels will be delivered from the Land Down Under to the ‘Little Red Dot’ – Singapore.

Infographic with a map showing how parcels are shipped via air freight from Melbourne and Sydney Australia to Singapore - includes customs documentation needed to clear Singapore customs

First Mile Delivery

First mile delivery in international delivery refers to when your parcel or shipment leaves the origin address to head to the port or airport. If you’re using Janio Asia’s international parcel deliveries for your eCommerce goods, the airports we currently uplift from include Melbourne Airport (MEL) and Sydney Airport (SYD).

But before your parcels arrive at the airport, they need to be consolidated and palletized together with other Singapore-bound shipments to prevent them from bouncing around due to events like turbulence during the flight. For this to happen, they’ll need to be delivered to a warehouse owned by your shipping partner first. If you’re shipping with Janio, you can drop your parcels off at our designated warehouses in Melbourne and Sydney respectively.

To further minimise damage to your goods during transit, it’s recommended to have sufficient padding for your items, such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts or cardboard inserts. To get a more detailed packaging guide, check out our packaging 101 guide.

On top of that, your parcels need to be labelled clearly and associated customs documents must be accessible for customs inspection. Check out some of the best practices for labelling your shipments along with our other B2C shipping tips, too.

Terminal Handling, Origin Customs Clearance and Line-Haul

After your parcels have been consolidated at the warehouse, they’ll head to your shipping partner’s air cargo agent’s warehouse at their respective airports for terminal handling.

Terminal handling includes weighing and inspection of the cargo, tallying your shipment’s items with the commercial invoice and packing list along with checking that all required customs documents are in order. If your items weren’t palletized at the warehouse earlier, they’ll be palletized here before going through customs clearance.

To get your goods cleared for export, your shipment usually needs to have these documents:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Airway bill
  • Export permit and Export Declaration (if needed)

Depending on what you’re shipping, you may need an export declaration and an export permit. Generally, goods intended to be exported from Australia need an export declaration if the goods:

  • Have a value of more than AUD 2000
  • Need an export permit (regardless of their value

You can check out when goods are exempted from export declarations, and how to lodge export declarations on this Australian Border Force page.>sup>1 If you’re unsure about these processes, you can look out for a shipping partner who’s experienced in multiple countries’ customs procedures, like Janio Asia, to help guide you through the processes. To find out more, reach out to us via the banner below:

 

Need to Ship to Southeast Asia via Sea, Air or Cross border Trucking? Get a quote here!

You’ll need to ensure your shipment doesn’t contain prohibited items like cultural and heritage goods or wine and brandy. To be safe, you can check out the list of items that are prohibited from export and import in Australia on the Australia Border Force prohibited goods list.2

Once your shipment has been cleared for export, your parcels will be uplifted onto a plane headed to Singapore.

Destination Customs Clearance in Singapore

Once the plane carrying your goods lands in Changi Airport (SIN), your shipment will be transferred to a customs warehouse.

To clear Singapore Customs, you or your shipping partner will generally need to provide the following documents:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Airway Bill
  • Insurance Policy (if any)
  • Receipt of payment of import duty and import-related taxes (if required)
  • Other relevant permits, licenses, and certificates

 

Singapore Customs uses the CIF method to determine the customs valuation of your shipment. This includes the cost of the goods themselves and the cost of freight and insurance for the shipment. Singapore has a de minimis value of SGD 400, which in Singapore means that orders shipped via courier (specifically air freight) below this value are eligible for GST relief.3

However, if your goods’ are valued above the de minimis threshold, you’ll need to pay import duties and GST to Singapore’s customs. Singapore’s GST is at 7%, and the import duties depend on the product category based on their respective harmonised systems code (HS code). You may find out the percentage of your import duties paid through Singapore’s Customs website.4

When shipping a B2C parcel internationally, you can choose to either pay for the import duties and taxes yourself or let your customers pay for the import duties and taxes. This is determined by the incoterms Delivered Duties Unpaid (DDU) and Delivered Duties Paid (DDP). While we strongly encourage you to opt for DDP to keep your shipping experience smooth for your B2C customer, it helps to familiarise with what these arrangements mean.

After customs clearance is done, your shipment will be sent to your logistics service provider’s Singapore warehouse where it will undergo sorting and distribution.

 

Distribution and Last Mile in Singapore

After going through Singaporean customs, your delivery enters the distribution stage. International B2C deliveries will have to be first sorted at a transportation hub prior to last mile delivery.

Your parcels in the last mile delivery stage will be sent from your partner’s warehouse in Singapore to your consignee’s address usually via vans. During the last mile delivery stage, your logistics service provider will ensure that your shipment is received by your consignee with multiple delivery attempts if the first one fails.

The general steps for international B2C deliveries are similar, but Southeast Asia has many countries each with their own customs regulations and local subtleties when it comes to deliveries. Now that you’re armed with knowing how to ship from Australia to Singapore, you’re in a better position to choose the right shipping partner.

Whether you need a one-stop-shop who can cover the entire journey or is flexible enough to provide services at specific steps, Janio’s modular end-to-end logistics services powered by local expertise have you covered. To get a quote or

If you’re looking for an air freight solution, a sea freight solution or even both to Singapore, Janio’s flexible, end-to-end delivery solutions have you covered from the first mile to the last. To find out more about our services and customs clearance expertise, contact us via the button below.

 

Need to Ship to Southeast Asia via Sea, Air or Cross border Trucking? Get a quote here!

References:

  1. Australian Border Force – Export declaration
  2. Australian Border Force – List of prohibited items
  3. Singapore Customs – Importing by Postal or Courier Service
  4. TradeNet Singapore – HS and Product Codes Search
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