5 Banned Products Singaporeans Order Online That May Get Discarded Before Reaching You

Shipping regulations in Singapore

Image adapted from: Pixabay

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but good thing there’s free shipping. With online stores like Ezbuy, Amazon and eBay, Singaporeans can order things from all around the world.

But while most goods can pass through our borders unmolested, here are 5 shipping regulations that you need to look out for, so your loot can reach Singapore safely.

1. Perfume and Cologne

Image credit: Pinterest

Anniversary night is around the corner, and you’re prepared. You’ve ordered a bottle of her favourite Chanel perfume online, and at a discount too. 

However, some courier services like Fedex won’t ship perfumes and colognes at all. Even companies which do – like TNT – require proper labelling, packaging and documentation. That’s because perfumes and colognes are considered dangerous goods, no thanks to their flammable alcohol-based content.

So if you want your order to arrive on time, it’s important to check whether the courier service you’re using is willing to carry perfumes and fragrances. Otherwise, bae might not be so impressed.

2. Essential Oils

Image credit: Twenty Lemons

You’ve found a new essential oil online, and it looks perfect for your next detox. Antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral – this oil has it all, and there’s even a two for one deal.

But before you hit that ‘add to cart’, you might wanna check out the Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES). It’s an international agreement between governments to protect the use of endangered plants and animals, and Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is in on it too.

That means that if your essential oil is derived from one of the species on their list, you’ll need a special permit from CITES to bring it in, and you can apply for one through AVA’s website.

3. Jewelry

Jewelry is expensive, and certain courier services like VPost won’t ship it all all. Most other companies like DHL and Fedex don’t carry loose precious metals or gems, due to their high value and risk of being lost or implicit in criminal activities.

So if you’re looking to pick up an expensive piece from overseas, be sure to double confirm if it can arrive safely. Also keep in mind that for shipping goods worth $400 or more, you’ll need to pay good ol’ GST. Otherwise, you might just end up like this lady, who paid a hefty price for not adhering to our import rules.

4. Terrariums & Potted Plants

Image credit: Gardenista

For those looking to upgrade your room aesthetic, terrariums are all the rage nowadays. These sealable glass containers with their mini ecosystems look super pretty, and they’re easy to maintain. 

But before you order one from websites like Taobao, take note that for all plants brought into Singapore, you’ll need a physio-sanitary certificate from the country of origin, as well as an import permit from the AVA. This is to prevent foreign plagues and parasites from being introduced to our local plant population

Another permit free option is to make your own terrariums, which are pretty easy to learn!

5. Portable Chargers

Image credit: Pixabay

Portable chargers are handy devices that save our mobile phones from the brink. But if you’re looking to score cheaper ones online, take note that they are considered dangerous goods under SingPost and most shipping and airfreight companies worldwide. 

Portable chargers contain lithium batteries, which are not only flammable, but especially difficult to put out. This is especially dangerous in air cargo holds, because when you’re 20k feet in the air, even a small fire is hard to deal with. 

Because of this, SingPost does not allow the transportation of portable chargers by air, nor does it allow power banks with a lithium content of more than 2g or a watt-hour rating of more than 100 Wh. So be sure to check the product specs before purchasing!

Besides portable chargers, all electronics containing lithium batteries including laptops, phones and even toys are under similar restrictions. So if you’re planning to ship one back, be sure to adhere to your shipping company’s labelling and packaging regulations.

Looking Ahead – International shipping in Singapore

Most courier services will provide a list of restricted items, and Singapore Customs has a search engine, where you can search for possible restrictions. It’s always good practice to check before you purchase, so that your shopping can arrive at your doorstep without a hitch.

Image credit: Ministry of Transport

Singapore is one of the top trade centres in the world, and our online shopping makes up only a part of the millions of packages that pass through our ports and airport daily. But in the competitive global market, is our nation doing enough to ensure that we stay relevant?

Image credit: Channel NewsAsia

In Channel NewsAsia’s new two-part series, Looking Ahead, we get an insight into some of the mega projects that are currently ongoing, including the construction of Terminal 5 and the Tuas megaport. 

Undertaking such large projects can be daunting, so we’ll get to see some of the challenges faced, as well as some of the innovations we can expect when they’re finished.

Find out more about Looking Ahead here!

This post was brought to you by Channel NewsAsia.

SJ Lin

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