How to Start a Shipping Business in Singapore

How to Start a Shipping Business in Singapore

Singapore’s shipping industry contributes about 7% of the country’s GDP growth. With over 5,000 shipping companies based in the country and growing, Singapore is a leading International Maritime Centre that connects over 600 ports and 120 countries all across the globe. Given its steadfast reputation as a premier maritime centre, starting a shipping company in Singapore can be a lucrative business opportunity.

Starting a shipping business in Singapore can be viewed as a challenging process by small and medium sized companies because of the requirements involved. However, if you break down the steps and take a closer look, it may not prove to be quite as difficult as you think. To start a shipping business in Singapore, you would need to meet the following minimum legislations:

  • Have crew members who will be working on your vessel
  • Operate certain communication equipment on your vessel
  • Operate your vessel outside and within Singapore’s port
  • Is your shipping company in Singapore dealing with dangerous goods?


Why Start a Shipping Business in Singapore?

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority recognizes the importance and the need to enhance the shipping industry in the country, which is why it has introduced several schemes readily available to assist investors who which to venture into this segment. These schemes include research and development, manpower development and even financial assistance, especially in helping SMEs capitalize on the assistance available to start their own shipping business in Singapore.


How to Start a Shipping Business in Singapore

To begin setting up your shipping company in Singapore, here is what you would need to do:

  • Incorporate your business, because this is a statutory requirement
  • Find a suitable premise to set up your Singapore shipping company
  • Hire the necessary staff needed to work on your vessel and the shipping company’s office
  • Apply for the required licenses and permits if they are applicable to your business operations. The list of licenses and permits include the following:
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    • Permit to discharge, load or transit dangerous goods
    • Permit to dock vessels which are carrying dangerous goods
    • Harbour Craft License to operate vessels in the port of Singapore
    • Ship Registration Certificate
    • Port Limit Manning License
    • Port Clearance Certificate
    • Ship Station License
    • Ship Sanitation Control Certificate
    • Launch a New Vessel Permit
    • Other licenses and relevant permits depending on the nature of your business activities

All vessels involved in carrying any sort of dangerous goods, explosive or petroleum which they intend to load or discharge in Singapore’s port must obtain a license before they can do so. Prior notice must also be given before the vessels arrival and permission must be obtained from the Port Master. You will not be able to proceed with your business activities without the necessary approval. All notifications of the ship’s arrival must be made at least 12-hours prior to arriving in Singapore, and a completed notification form must be submitted to the MPA’s Hazardous Cargo Section. This is a mandatory compliance requirement that must be met if you intend to start a shipping business in Singapore.

If you are interested to start a shipping business in Singapore, read more from local corporate service provider in Singapore who can assist you along the way.