How to Setup an Offshore Freight Forwarding Business in Singapore?

Freight Transportation is an integral part of the supply chain that creates it doable for producers to export their merchandise on the far side of their immediate geographical reach. However, Freight Forwarders are not the actual deliverer of the goods, but rather experts in transporting goods from one place to another in the most seamless and cost-efficient method, via air, ocean or land, reckoning on their customer’s needs. In other words, they operate as intermediaries between the various transportation services and a shipper (customer).

Therefore, a Freight Forwarder must be knowledgeable in export processes and shipping requirements for all modes of transportation, as well as the licenses and permits relevant to different types of cargo and goods, as they must handle all trade and finance documentation, customs clearances and inspections, the tracking of cargo, even storage, if necessary, and all other requirements and situations that might arise.

Top Priorities for a Freight Forwarding Business Start-up

  1. Incorporating Your Company On ACRA

Registering your company on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore is the first step to kicking off your business venture. Successfully registered, your company will receive a Unique Entity Number (UEN), required when making applications for other licenses and permits.

  1. Registering with Singapore Customs

Any Import, Export, or conveyance of products will force activating an account with Singapore Customs (SC) using the company UEN. Free account activation, which is free, is generally completed in less than 48 hours. As long as business entities stay registered on ACRA, their Customs Account can stay valid.

Other Legal Formalities

Depending on their assets, operational model, and scope of business and specific desires of shoppers, Freight Forwarding Companies could need one or a lot of permits from the subsequent  authorities:

  1. Singapore Customs (SC)
  2. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
  3. Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)
  4. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)
  5. Land Transport Authority (LTA)
  6. Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  7. Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
  8. National Environment Agency (NEA)

A Special Note on the Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading is the most important document a Freight Forwarder must prepare.

  • It is a legally binding document between the Freight Forwarder, and the freight carrier that details the type, quantity and destination of the goods being transported;
  • serves as a shipment receipt when the freight carrier delivers the goods at the predetermined destination;
  • Must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the mode of transportation, and an authorized representative from the Freight Forwarder, freight shipper and receiver must sign it.

Information to include on the Bill of Lading:

  • shipper and receiver names and complete address
  • date of the shipment
  • number of shipping units
  • freight classification
  • the exact weight of every shipment item
  • type of packaging, together with cartons, pallets, skids, and drums
  • PO or unique account numbers used between businesses for order pursuit
  • special instructions for the carrier
  • note if the freight is classified as Hazardous (special rules and requirements apply)
  • the declared value of the freight being shipped

Licenses to be obtained from Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) for Sea Freight Forwarding

  • Harbour Craft License – To operate vessels within Singapore’s port
  • Port Clearance Certificate – To work vessels at the merchandise
  • Port Limit Manning License – For crew members to work on-board your ships and vessels
  • Launch a brand new Vessel allow – launch a brand new vessel over 15 meters long within the port
  • Ship Station License – To operate radio-communication equipment on your Singapore registered ship
  • Ship Sanitation Management Certificate – To certify your vessel’s sanitary condition to move merchandise
  • Permit to discharge/load/transit dangerous merchandise and dock vessels carrying such merchandise
  • Other Licenses and Permits for related activities

Business Setup Worldwide is a platform to help you set up your business. Right from incorporation , registration and licensing to establishing your office space, we facilitate the formation of your company through expert counselling and incubation. For any more information, contact us.

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