Shipping Company Registration in Singapore

The Port of Singapore is a leading international maritime centre with more than 6000 active shipping companies with connections to over 600 ports in more than 120 countries.

Given its high reputation as shipping hub and global port, Singapore is a great option for many wanting to conduct shipping or maritime business operations based in Asia.

Why Base your Shipping company in Singapore?

There are a number of financial, manpower and research & development schemes available to Singapore-based shipping companies.

The Singapore Maritime & Port Authority implemented assistance schemes for SMEs to facilitate the growth of Singapore's maritime industry; this benefits many SMEs in their first years of incorporation. For more information about any of the below mentioned schemes, contact us:

1. AIS: Approved International Shipping Enterprise

This scheme offers tax immunity on certain income for shipping companies in Singapore for 10 years.

2. MFI: Maritime Finance Incentive

This scheme gives shipping companies that are loaning ships, vessels, containers and equipment tax concessions for 10 years on their leasing income.

3. ASL: Approved Shipping Logistics

This scheme offers shipping companies providing freight and logistics services a reduced tax rate of 10% on incremental revenue.

4. MSF: Maritime Seed Fund

The scheme offers financial assistance to start-ups or growing maritime companies who are innovating or trying to introduce new products or services into the maritime industry in Singapore.

5. Maritime Cluster Fund for Scholarships

 This scheme offers scholarship schemes and educational programmes, course fee subsidies and attachment programmes for employee development, local training infrastructure and capabilities within the maritime industry.

Step-by-Step guide to Setting up a Shipping Company in Singapore

Step 1: Incorporating your Singapore Shipping Company 

Once you have decided to start a shipping company in SIngapore as a statutory requirement, you must incorporate the business. Incorporating a Private Limited Company (PLC) in Singapore requires many hoops to be jumped regarding statutory requirements, although the process is relatively straight forward. 

Click here to read more about Singapore Company Incorporation.

Step 2: Applying for the Necessary Licenses & Permits

Depending whether they apply to your business, the relevant licenses and permits should be applied for. The basic licenses and permit for a Singapore shipping company include:

  • Ship Registration Certificate: To transport good or passengers.
  • Port Clearance Certificate: To operate vessels beyond the port of Singapore.
  • Harbour Craft License: To run standard vessels within the port of Singapore.
  • Port Limit Manning License: For crew members to work as employees’ on-board ships.
  • Launch a New Vessel Permit: To launch a new vessel over 15 metres long in the port.
  • Ship Station License: To operate radio-communication equipment on your Singapore registered ship.
  • Ship Sanitation Control Certificate: is required to certify your vessel’s conditions on board (for both goods and people).
  • Permits for other activities such as loading, docking, transit and carrying dangerous goods.

Step 3: Hire Office Staff & Ship Crew

You may intend to hire a crew to work on board or employees to work in your shipping company office. For an overview of your Singapore staffing requirements click here. Employees hired to work on-board your vessel need to hold a valid Port Limit Manning License.

Click here to read about Eltoma Recruitment & finding suitable employees for your new venture.

Step 4: Find Office Space for your Singapore Shipping Company 

After incorporating your business, you should find suitable premises to set up your shipping company office. Your office space is of utmost importance, it will not only be the first impression for clients, but also where your office employees will spend their working day. Contact us for leasing premises suitable for your requirements in Singapore.


Ship Registration Certificate with the Singapore Registry of Ships

It is compulsory to register all ships in Singapore with the Singapore Registry of Ships (or SRS). As in most ports and harbours, ships fall under two categories: 1. Under a foreign flag for foreign ships or a 2. Singapore Flag for local vessels.

Documentation Required:

  • Fully completed registration application form.
  • Singapore Harbour Craft Lisence.
  • Vessel Manager Appointment Form with the details of the individual in charge of managing the ship.
  • Agent appointment form (if the individual signing the Form other than the Director/Secretary of the company.
  • Business Profile Printout as lodged with ACRA.
  • Proof of vessel ownership – Copy of receipt of purchase, manufactorers certificate or similar.
  • Approximate value of vessel in SGD.
  • Tonnage certificate for empty and loaded weight of the ship.
  • Vessel classification certificate.

1. Satisfy the following owner & ship pre-requisites

The ship owner and the vessel need to satisfy certain pre-requisites prior to ship registration in Singapore.

Only the following can legally own a vessel in Singapore:

  1. Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.
  2. Foreign owned companies incorporated in Singapore (with a 50% shareholding is owned by foreigners).
  3. Locally owned companies incorporated in Singapore (with a 50% shareholding is owned by Singapore citizens or another local company).

If the vessel is owned by a non-Singapore company, more stringent rules apply. The vessel can only be registered in Singapore only if:

  • The company has a minimum of SGD $50,000 capital without credit.
  • The vessel weighs over 1,600 gross tonnes.

If the vessel is owned by a Singapore company, it may be registered in Singapore if the company satisfies the minimum SGD $1 capital requirement.

As long as the vessel is 16 years old or younger, it will be suitable for registration submission.

2. Obtain a Vessel Number & Approve your Vessel Name at the Registrar of Ships

After all the documentation has been prepared, it’s time to submit them for the approval of your ship name and an official vessel number by writing to the Singapore Registrar of Ships.

3. Payment of Fees and Receiving the Certificate of Registry

After submitting the relevant documentation and have paid the initial registration fees and tonnage tax, you should receive the following:

  • A Certificate of Registry.
  • A Carving & Marking Note.

Contact us for any further questions or a comprehensive incorporation plan.


Take the next step, we are here to help.

Register a Singapore company.
Open a Singapore bank account.