Quick Guide on Transhipping Goods
This page provides a quick guide on transhipment procedures for those who wish to tranship goods via Singapore.
What are the Transhipment Scenarios?
Transhipment goods refer to goods that are to be transhipped through Singapore from a place outside Singapore to a final destination vessel outside Singapore, as evidenced by its accompanying supporting documents/scenarios:
- Incoming Through Bill of Lading, Through Air Waybill or Through Manifest which does not mention any local party as a consignee or notifying party (i.e., shipper, consignee or notifying party are all overseas parties); or
- Incoming Bill of Lading, Air Waybill or Manifest which mentions an overseas party as the shipper, and where the consignee or notifying party is a local shipping agent, Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC), air cargo agent or freight forwarder arranging for the transhipment of goods through Singapore on behalf of the overseas party; or
- Incoming Bill of Lading, Air Waybill or Manifest which mentions a local party as shipper, and where the consignee or notifying party is an overseas party or a local shipping agent, NVOCC, air cargo or freight forwarder.
The table below provides a summary of the transhipment scenarios listed above. Transactions that do not meet any of these scenarios are considered as imports and/or exports and must be covered by the relevant Customs import and export permits even if they remain within the Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
The transhipment of all goods is not subject to duty or Goods and Services Tax (GST). Please refer to Circular 01/2020 for more information on the storage of liquors and tobacco products in the FTZs.
Incoming Bill of Lading, Air Waybill or Manifest
|Scenario||Port of Loading||Port of Destination||Shipper||Consignee and/or Notifying Party|
|A||Not Singapore||Not Singapore||Overseas Party||Overseas party|
|B||Not Singapore||Not Singapore||Overseas Party||Local shipping agent, NVOCC, air cargo agent or freight forwarder|
|C||Not Singapore||Not Singapore||Local party||Overseas party or Local shipping agent/NVOCC/FF|
The transhipment of all goods is not subject to duty or Goods and Services Tax (GST).
How to Tranship Goods?
As a Transhipment Agent, you are required to account for the movement of your goods while they are being transhipped through Singapore.
Please refer to the following steps to obtain the relevant transhipment permits (where required) and authorisation (where the goods are subject to transhipment control) from the relevant Competent Authorities (CA).
Step 1 : Register for UEN and Activate Customs Account
An entity that intends to engage in transhipment activities in Singapore; and apply for transhipment permits or certificates is required to:
- Register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or the relevant Unique Entity Number (UEN) Issuance Agency to obtain a UEN; and
- Activate its Customs Account
- Register with Customs as a Declaring Agent
- Register with Customs as a Transhipment Agent (Note: To be a Transhipment Agent, your registered business with ACRA is required to be a shipping agent, air cargo agent or freight forwarder)
- Email your registration request to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your entity’s name and UEN to register your entity as a Transhipment Agent
Singapore Customs will provide an email reply to inform you of the outcome of the request. Once the registration has been approved, your entity will be able to submit transhipment permit applications.
Step 2 : Check If Your Goods are Controlled or Prohibited for Transhipment
Do check if the goods you intend to tranship are strategic goods, controlled or prohibited goods subject to restrictions by Competent Authorities in Singapore.
You may refer to the list of controlled goods and prohibited goods for transhipment for more information. you are advised to search here to check if your goods are controlled using the description of the product and Harmonized System (HS) or CA product codes to check if your goods are controlled or prohibited. If the item is subject to control, you may check directly with the respective CAs on their licensing requirements.
For more information on the transhipment of strategic goods and non-strategic goods that are intended or likely to be used in connection to weapons of mass destruction, please click here.
Step 3 : Furnish Security
For the transhipment of dutiable goods such as tobacco, liquor or motor vehicles covered by a Through Bill of Lading or Non-Through Bill of Lading or Airway Bill through Customs Territory, you are required to furnish security in the form of a Banker’s Guarantee/Finance Company Guarantee/Insurance Bond.
For information on security lodgement, please click here.
Step 4 : Obtain Customs Transhipment Permit
You allowed to obtain customs permits on behalf of your clients where a permit is required. Please ensure that the permit declaration type and permit message are correct during your application process.
All permit applications must be submitted via TradeNet. They will be accessible through TradeNet front-end solution from an approved solution provider or Government Front-End Application
For permit applications involving strategic goods, please indicate “Strategic Trade Scheme (STS)” under the Customs Procedure Code (CPC) field.
Please refer to Permits, Documentation and Other Fees for more information. While you may charge service fees for obtaining permits on your client’s behalf, you should clearly indicate the permit application cost and segregate this cost from your fees.
Step 5 : Prepare Document For Cargo Clearance
Please present the goods with the printed copy of the customs permit, and supporting documents such as invoice, packing list, Bill of Lading or Air Waybill to the checkpoint officers at the entry and exit checkpoints for clearance.
Below are some examples of conditions in the permit indicating this requirement:
|A1||The goods and this permit with invoices, BL/AWB, etc must be produced for Customs clearance/ endorsement at a Free Trade Zone “In” Gate.|
|A2||The goods and this permit with invoices, BL/AWB, etc must be produced for Customs clearance / endorsement at a Free Trade Zone ‘Out’ Gate unless it is directed to the “Green Lane’ at the time of clearance.|
|H1||The goods must be produced together with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint / Tuas Checkpoint.|
|H3||The goods must be produced with this permit, invoices, BL/AWB, etc for Customs endorsement at an Airport Customs checkpoint or designated Customs office or station as required.|
For a shipment which requires partial clearance, the same permit should be presented each time for customs endorsement until the whole shipment is completely cleared.
Please note that partial clearance is not allowed for goods coming into Singapore via Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.
Step 6 : Retain your Trade Documents
Generally, you are required to retain all the relevant supporting documents relating to the goods for a period of at least 5 years from the date of the customs permit approval.
You may be required to produce these supporting documents to Singapore Customs upon request.
You may also use an image system to store images of the documents without retaining the physical copy. Please read the guidelines here for storing images of trade documents.