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How to Set Up a Shipping Company in Singapore?

Last modified: May 6, 2021
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How to Set Up a Shipping Company in Singapore

It makes sense to opt for company incorporation in Singapore to set up a shipping company. This is an important maritime centre. This island-country is a trading economy leveraging its strategic geographical location on the shipping lanes between East and West.

The Singaporean shipping industry is well-supported by world-class logistical services companies and harbours offering connectivity with more than 600 destinations spread throughout the world. The sector contributes as much as 7% of the country’s GDP.


Set Up a Shipping Company in Singapore- Why?

Singapore Maritime and Port Authority has schemes to attract new investors to its shipping industry. Encouraging business owners for company incorporation in Singapore is their way of staying competitive.

The schemes are purposed to assist SMEs in starting a shipping company in Singapore. They get to capitalize on the schemes supporting research and development efforts. These schemes also offer them financial assistance and a chance to develop their manpower.


Forming a Shipping Company in Singapore

1. Register a Company

Registering a Singapore private limited company is swift & straightforward process. You will require only 1-3 days to complete the process. It has only 2 steps: Taking ACRAs approval for Company Name and Registering Company with ACRA.


2. Setup Company Office

After your company incorporation in Singapore, you need to rent or purchase office space to set up your office.


3. Employ Staff

Employ qualified employees to man your ships and to work in your office. Follow the rules and legislation in force.

Employees hired to work on your ships must have a valid Port Limit Manning Licence. Your hiring of office staff must be as per the rules and regulations for local & foreign employees in Singapore.


4. Acquire Licences and Permits

Apply and acquire the necessary licences and permits needed to start your business operations.

  • You need Harbour Craft Licence to operate your ships in Singaporean ports
  • Port Clearance Certificate enables you to operate ships beyond Singaporean ports
  • Ship Registration Certificate allows you to transport passengers or goods
  • Port Limit Manning Licence allows your crew to work on your ships & vessels
  • With a Launch a New Vessel Permit you can launch a new vessel bigger than 15 meters long in the port
  • Ship Station Licence for operating radio-communication equipment on your ships registered in Singapore
  • Ship Sanitation Control Certificate enables you to transport goods
  • Permit for discharge, transportation or loading of dangerous products


Craft Inspection and Licence

Craft inspection involves inspection of the hull, and its appliances and equipment. The crafts passing the inspection get Licenced as a harbour craft. It is a yearly inspection, and you need to arrange the date and location with the One-Stop Document Center at least a week before.

Pay the required fees and dues to acquire the Licence. Display it clearly. Carve or cut the Licence number in the vessel’s main beam as per the directions.


Incentives for Starting a Singapore Shipping Company

  • Maritime Sector Incentive- Approved International Shipping Enterprise Award (MSAIS): Your company can claim tax exemption for a renewable period of 10 years or a non-renewable period of 5 years.
  • Maritime Sector Incentive- Maritime Leasing (MSI-ML) Award: You can claim 5 years of tax concessions if your company’s funding base is in Singapore financing your sea containers or vessels. An approved manager will qualify for a 10% concession in the tax rate on the qualifying management income.
  • Maritime Sector Incentive- Shipping-related Support Services (MSI-SSS) Award: Qualifying companies will get 10% concession in the tax rate for 5 years based on the incremental income.

When it comes to harbour craft Licence renewal, do it before e its expiatory date or you will be committing an offence. This is all about how to set up a shipping company in Singapore. If you still have any questions about company incorporation in Singapore, call us on +65 6536 0036 or email us at info@sbsgroup.com.sg for answers.

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