The score on sending parcels to Singapore
As one of the wealthiest nations on the planet - its per capita income is the third highest in the world - Singapore is a major player in the world of business, finance and tourism. Located at the southern top of the Malay Peninsula in south-east Asia, millions visit the beautiful city state every year for business or pleasure (or, indeed, both).
Singapore is also home to the world's fifth busiest port, and the nation's economy relies heavily on imports and exports to stay afloat. In fact, Singapore is the 14th largest exporter in the world, making it a very competitive, business-friendly place.
As a result, Singapore and the UK are seeing increased mail traffic and senders need to ensure they are getting the best delivery rates on their shipments. Not only that, senders need to ensure their letters, parcels and packages make it through customs safe and sound.
All goods imported by parcel post through ordinary mail are subject to clearance by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers based at the Singapore Post Centre (SPC). Parcels could be detained or even destroyed if found to contain goods that are dutiable, controlled or prohibited, according to the Singapore Customs website. In addition, if a package contains non-dutiable and non-controlled goods with a total value above $400 with no invoice attached at the time of arrival, it could also be detained.
Singapore has a number of prohibitions and restrictions with regards to goods entering the country via post. A prohibited product means the item is not permitted in the mail under any circumstances, while a restricted product means senders must comply with certain restrictions before a product can enter the country.
Prohibited items include: chewing gum, chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products, cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape, controlled drugs and psychotropic substances, firecrackers, machine-skimmed or hand-skimmed milk, public lottery tickets or gambling transactions, reproduction of copyright publications, firearms and "seditious and treasonable materials".
Restricted items are only allowed entry when the import permit or authorisation from the relevant controlling authorities is produced. Restricted items include: plants, birds, animals, wildlife, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, seafood, newspapers, books, magazines, cassettes, films, video tapes/discs, CD-ROMs, video games, medicines, pharmaceuticals, telecommunication equipment and toy walkie-talkies.
As Singapore is a fair distance from the UK - approximately 6,736 miles separate them - senders must make sure their package is strong and sturdy enough to survive the tribulations of international travel.
It's worth individually wrapping each item before placing it in a larger parcel as this will provide extra strength. In addition, polystyrene or crumpled newspaper could provide additional protection by reducing movement in the parcel. Finally, use a strong tape to seal all openings of the box and all the way around any seams. You should also use tape to secure all invoices to a parcel/package, allowing it to glide through customs without a fuss.
Following these tips should help get a letter, parcel or package from the UK to its intended destination in Singapore. Just remember: no hand-skimmed milk!