Amazon FBA Forwarder
Full service from factory pickup directly to Amazon FBA
Amazon pallet & labeling
Customs clearance & Export license & Bond for customs entry
Amazon, Amazon Service Provider Network, Amazon SPN, and Amazon SPN logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
Why for a Freight Forwarder?
A freight forwarder is a service provider that arranges your shipments.
A good freight forwarder is well-versed in the shipping process. It has the connections necessary to book space for your goods with reliable air and ocean carriers, track the movement of your goods, coordinate the many required documents required, and more.
In order to comply with Amazon FBA’s unique delivery requirements, you’ll also want a forwarder that has experience coordinating the delivery of goods to Amazon warehouses.
What is shipping to Amazon FBA?
For shipping to Amazon fulfillment center, Amazon requires all products to be prepared for shipping, including checks for safety and other restrictions. Amazon and other warehouses charge a premium to prep your products for shipment through FBA.
Before you send products to Amazon FBA, use AEB Logistics as your dedicated prepping partner. We’ll package your items to Amazon’s specifications, print and apply labels and bar codes, and ship them to a regional facility.
Best of all, we do it for LESS than the other guys – with our simple pricing model and NO hidden fees.
The shipping process
To help give you a better understanding of how the shipment process works, let’s go over the steps involved. Keep in mind that if you are using a freight forwarder as AEB Logistics, we will handle every step of this process — it’s just good to know how it works!
Step 1: Goods travel from the factory to the international port
You’ll have two options to work out with your supplier during this step. FOB (free on board) or EXW (ex-works). Your supplier may offer other shipping terms, so make sure you negotiate that with them.
The terms determine who is responsible for getting the goods from the factory to the shipping port. FOB is the easiest option in most cases as your supplier will make sure your goods reach the port. From there, your freight forwarder can handle the rest.
Step 2: Goods travel from international port to the destination port
Once your goods reach the port (let’s say, in China), they’ll begin the trip to your home port (let’s say, in the US). For this, you can choose air or sea freight, though we recommend shipping by sea as it will be much cheaper.
Step 3: Goods arrive at the domestic port of entry and begin the customs clearing process
Once your products arrive at the port, customs begin the clearance process. This is where the help of a customs broker comes in, something you want your freight forwarder to take care of for you.
Before customs can clear your goods, you must pay the duties owed. Your broker/freight forwarder will handle this. Your freight forwarder will take care of any other documents that customs requires.
If all goes well, this process will take about a week.
Step 4: Goods need to be prepped for Amazon using a 3PL
Before your items can ship to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, your products need to be appropriately labeled and palletized according to Amazon’s requirements.
Once your product cases are palletized, you must label them with a shipment ID label. The label tells Amazon how many products are delivered and that the products belong to your seller account. You will get these labels after creating your shipment in Seller Central.
This is why it is crucial to work with a freight forwarder with Amazon FBA experience and one that can also serve as your 3PL to help streamline this process.
Note: If your products are exclusively sold on Amazon, have your supplier label each item with your product’s FNSKU code (Amazon barcode.) This will make the preparation process much more manageable.
Once your goods are prepped, they’re ready to be sent to Amazon. A decision that you need to make here is how your products will be shipped.
You can ship via SPD (small parcel delivery) with a local carrier such as UPS or by truckload shipping.
If your total shipment weighs less than 150 pounds, it will typically be cheaper to ship with SPD. Just know that there is a 200-case limit when creating a shipment via SPD.
If your shipment weighs more than 150 pounds, use LTL (less than truckload). Remember that Amazon has particular pallet requirements when shipping via truckload, so make sure your freight forwarder knows that.
Step 5: Get your goods to Amazon
Once your items are labeled and prepped, it is now time to get them to Amazon’s fulfillment centers!
This step, you’ll need to do on your own. Don’t worry — you can get any information you need regarding your shipment from your supplier or freight forwarder.
If shipping via SPD, you can use UPS and purchase the shipping labels right from Seller Central.
If shipping via LTL, you can use one of Amazon’s partners to arrange a truck to pick up your goods from the 3PL and deliver them to Amazon. Again, this is set up in your Seller Central account.
FBA Prep Services
When you ship products to Amazon FBA, they have certain packaging and fulfillment prep requirements for your products. Properly packaging and preparing units (FBA prep) helps to reduce delays in receive time, protects your products while in fulfillment centers, and creates a better customer experience.
How we do FBA prep?
If you use Amazon’s own FBA prep service, Amazon can prepare your eligible products for a per-unit fee. AEB Logistics can perform the same prep for significantly less. We’re a leading fulfillment prep services provider, designed specifically for Amazon FBA merchants. We can:
- Receive your products, verify quantities, and inspect for visible damages.
- Set up and notify Amazon of the pending shipments.
- Repackage, bag, and tag your products, applying FNSKU labels and even other labels if needed (choking hazard, expiration date, etc).
- Divide your products to ship to amazon FBA, using either small parcel or LTL service.
How should the cargo be labeled?
Each carton in an Amazon shipment must have the proper Amazon label attached. This makes sure that it arrives safely and quickly to the correct Amazon fulfillment center.
You can print shipment labels from within the Amazon Shipment Creation Workflow or, if you already created the shipment, from your Amazon shipping queue.
Be sure to read the Amazon specifications about label placement – for example, the entire label must be visible, and no other bar codes should be visible on the carton. Also, labels should only be put on a flat surface of the box, like the side or top- avoid the seams or corners so that the barcode is clear.
If you’re shipping boxes, each box needs its own label. If you’ve got enough boxes to ship a pallet, you need four additional labels, one in the center of each pallet side.
Who Labels the Boxes?
Your supplier can label your boxes as long as they have the correct Amazon labels and understand the correct way to label the boxes.
If you aren’t sure whether your supplier can properly handle the labeling, AEB Logistics can label your boxes for a fee before shipping products to amazon FBA. In this case AEB will need to palletize your shipment after its labeled, also for an additional fee. Palletization fees do not apply if you ship via small parcel delivery (i.e., UPS).
Which incoterm is suitable for FBA?
Use an incoterm which will create no billing to Amazon – you will pay for all the fees including delivery. The DDP (Delivered Duties Paid) incoterm is the most common – DDP Amazon, and will be the one suggested – it also costs more than average. With this term, the shipper (you) will pay for the entirety of freight travel, duties payment, and customs clearance.
A better option, one that we recommend using, is to ask for EXW (Ex-Works) or FOB (Free on Board) incoterms. These incoterms allow you to take responsibility for payment and still find the best price. Amazon will not be billed (which is what they require), and the shipper saves by using a better priced incoterm.
Remember, Amazon will not act as an Importer of Record for any shipper. This means the shipper is responsible for following international and US shipping rules and regulations. The shipper will always be responsible for any costs and risks that come with shipping to Amazon FBA.
What should I know about USA customs and tariffs?
Familiarize yourself with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), which determines the amount of duties that an importer must pay for a particular type of commodities. The HTS code will alert you to any trade agreements or other regulations you may need to know about the cargo.
Search the government data base to view the tariffs on your items.
Find your commodity’s category on the left. Click on it, and you’ll be able to see the duty rates for the countries of origin in the first column on the right, if that country has “Normal Trade Relations (NTR)” with the US.
Keep an eye out for special sub-columns that come up for countries with special trade agreements with the US. If the country does not have Normal Trade Relations with the United States, you’ll find it in the second column – some industry people refer to these countries as “Column Two” countries.
A ten digit HTS code will be included on your product’s customs forms. AEB Logistics will use this code to fill out all necessary paperwork for both the import and export countries. AEB will also pay Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF) for ocean freight, which comes to 0.125% of the value of the product.
You will be assessed a Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF) whether you are shipping via air or ocean, which will amount to 0.35% of the value of the product. This does not include any freight fees, insurance or other duties. The MPF has a maximum value of $485 and can never be less than $25.
All fees will be paid before shipping to Amazon fulfillment center, as Amazon cannot be billed for any amount.
How will the shipment arrive at Amazon FBA?
After your cargo clears customs, the shipment is ready to be delivered to Amazon FBA. There are two options for delivery: using Amazon-partnered carriers (which may cost a little bit more), or use your own carriers as arranged by AEB Logistics.
If you decide to use your own carrier, you need to provide AEB with a Bill of Lading for each shipment, so that we can schedule a delivery appointment at the Amazon warehouse. You will need to complete the Amazon FBA booking form and email it with the Amazon carrier manual to AEB. With this form, we can schedule a delivery appointment via Amazon’s Carrier Appointment Request Portal.
For LCL, only once the goods arrive at AEB’s warehouse in the country of destination can we make delivery appointment with Amazon.
Feel free to reach out with any questions about this delivery window.
How are taxes and duties paid?
The Importer of Record – which is you, not AEB Logistics – will be responsible for paying all the taxes and duties. An Entry Summary must be filed along with payment for duties and taxes within 10 days of entry submission.
Depending on the agreement with AEB Logistics, we can also pay the taxes and duties on your behalf, and we will bill the amount to you afterwards. In this case, you should have filled up Power of Attorney when you first worked with AEB Logistics to authorize us to clear the customs, pay the duties & taxes for you.
Amazon will not be responsible for or collect any duties, taxes or shipping costs associated with FBA inventory. All shipments are required to use Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping terms. Any shipment arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with collect charges, including any duties, taxes or shipping costs, will be refused without further concession.
While Amazon will not act as the Importer of Record, Amazon may be listed as the Ultimate Consignee on your shipping documentation.
Shipping to Amazon FBA for Non-US Based Businesses
In order to pay the required customs and duties when your goods arrive from overseas, you need to provide two contacts based in the country you’re shipping to:
Importer of record – responsible for paying customs and duties, plus any liabilities related to the customs.
Ultimate consignee – that’s essentially the official contact for the customs authority if there’s any problem.
Most US imports are done by US companies. It’s simply the most straightforward way of importing goods because the CBPA (Customs Border and Protection Agency) will only approve shipments for companies that have an American Tax ID.
Many companies get concerned that they won’t be able to ship products to Amazon FBA if their business is not based in the US.
But have no fear – you can indeed import into the US – as long as you establish a Foreign Importer of Record. Please contact AEB Logistics for all arrangements.
Last-Mile Logistics for Amazon FBA
The final step in your FBA freight journey is getting your goods to Amazon’s warehouse. This step is known as last-mile delivery and you can either opt to ship less-than-truckload (LTL) or small parcel delivery (SPD).
LTL vs. SPD
As a general rule, if you are shipping over two pallets, you should defer to your freight forwarder who will know all of the requirements that go with LTL, including:
- Using acceptable pallets
- Adhering to pallet label requirements
- Providing the bill of lading (BOL)
- Scheduling a delivery
If you are shipping fewer than two pallets, you may opt for SPD, which you can coordinate directly on Amazon FBA.
Using UPS for Last-Mile Delivery to Amazon FBA
If you’re planning to use UPS to deliver to the Amazon warehouse, your initial shipping destination will be a warehouse of AEB Logistics which will then schedule UPS pickup from there once the goods arrive.
Labeling would be handled as usual – ideally at the factory. The supplier would need to put on both the FBA labels and the UPS labels.
AEB Logistics can do the labeling (FBA and/or UPS) and then coordinate UPS pickup from our location. Note that we will charge for the labeling.
UPS delivery is ideal when Amazon gives you multiple destination warehouses; you can arrange for one international shipment to AEB’s warehouse, and have AEB split them up for you.
UPS will generally only take loose cargo, usually about a dozen or so boxes at a time. If your goods exceed this size or are being shipped on pallets, then UPS may have difficulty with the final transport.
Third-party warehouses provide an attractive storage solution for two reasons:
- Storage rates are less fickle in third-party warehouses, fluctuating less often.
- They provide a local ship-from address that you can use when creating your shipment on Amazon FBA.
You can use a third-party warehouse to feed your goods to Amazon’s FBA warehouses on an as-needed basis. This provides greater control over your inventory and some added insurance if your item doesn’t sell as expected.
Of course, if you’re sending a limited number of products to Amazon FBA, this “just in time” approach probably doesn’t apply. The trick, as with most things Amazon FBA, is to understand when to employ these resources.