Amazon Shipping & Receiving Requirements

John Edmonds, Freightos

One of Amazon’s strengths is how well they optimize and streamline processes. This chapter covers the additional requirements Amazon has in place for accepting imported products as simply as they accept domestically sourced products.

Inventory Arriving From Overseas

Here are Amazon’s requirements for inventory arriving from overseas:

  • They will not serve as the importer of record on any of your imported freight, and will only act as ultimate consignee if the name of the location is followed by “in care of FBA.”
  • Your customs broker must contact Amazon before shipping to get the EIN or Tax ID number required for customs clearance.
  • They do not accept delivery with duties, taxes or other charges owing.
  • You must arrange prepaid delivery to Amazon’s fulfillment center.
  • Non-US based businesses have additional requirements.
  • Amazon warehouses only accept shipments that conform to their palletizing and labeling requirements (as covered in the following sections).

Palletizing Requirements

Amazon requires that most shipments are delivered to their warehouses on pallets.

Air freight shipments are generally palletized in the US because, as covered by the Packaging chapter, their weight can blow out air freight costs.

This isn’t the case with ocean freight costs, and they are generally palletized in China, where the cost of palletizing is much cheaper. But make sure to use 48” x 40” pallets, and they must be wooden (Amazon doesn’t accept plastic pallets). Remember, too, as for any other import from China, the supplier or factory must include a fumigation certificate for the pallet.

Expert Tip

  1. When it comes to shipping, it’s always circumstantial, but we try to get as much done in China as possible. That goes for pallets, too. If your factory isn’t familiar with Amazon requirements, ask for detailed photos.
  2. You’re not allowed to have even one inch of shipment overhanging the pallet’s width or length.
  3. Also, keep in mind that Amazon will give you trouble if a carton weighs more than 50 lbs. We’ve seen stuff flagged for being 51 lbs, right over the line, getting rejected. When that happens, it’s going to cost a lot to pull it back and get it repackaged. So, take your time and do it right the first time.
    Don Skotnicki, Consultant, AMZ Transit

Labeling Requirements

Amazon’s labeling requirements are similar to general labeling good practice. An additional stipulation, though, is that every carton in an Amazon shipment must have the proper Amazon label attached in the right place. This is to ensure that delivery goes to the correct Amazon fulfillment center. You can print shipping labels from within the Amazon shipment creation workflow or, if you have 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 barcodes 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.

Your supplier, freight forwarder, or 3PL that is doing prepping for you in the US, can label your boxes as long as they have the right Amazon labels and understand the correct way to label the boxes. If this prepping is done in the US, after labeling, the shipment will need to be palletized.

Receiving Requirements

Amazon requires that all FBA shipments be delivered to their warehouse at very specific times (sometimes this is very late at night), and with a very narrow delivery window. So, scheduling delivery should only be done after the goods arrive at the forwarder’s warehouse in the US.

But be sure to promptly make the booking, especially in busy periods, such as the lead-up to Amazon Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Build a buffer in your planning during these periods, just in case your shipment faces several days delay waiting for the delivery appointment. Your forwarder should be taking care of all of this.

The preceding information is provided as a guide only. You should check requirements on Amazon’s Sellers Central, and only work with a freight forwarder with experience arranging deliveries to Amazon.

Freight Quote Requests

Getting a freight quote request is covered in the Request For Freight Quote chapter, and there is no difference with shipments destined for Amazon warehouses. You can use these special tools though to help before you request a quote:

Summary

  • Amazon has several rules in place so that they can accept import shipments in the same way they accept domestic shipments. This includes that they will not act as an importer of record or ultimate consignee, and they do not accept responsibilities for any duties, taxes, etc.
  • Amazon will not accept delivery if their specific palletizing, labeling, or receiving requirements are not followed.

    Further Reading

  1. FBA Policies And Requirements [AMAZON] 
  2. Delivering Imports To Amazon [AMAZON]
  3. Shipping To Amazon Support On The Freightos Marketplace

Freightos makes global trade frictionless with the world’s online marketplace for the trillion dollar international shipping industry, helping importers and exporters reduce logistics spend and save time with instant comparison, booking, and management of air, ocean, and land shipments from top logistics providers.

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