Transportation from China to Amazon FBA can be confusing, particularly if you\’re new to Amazon. The various options and regulations tend to overwhelm even the experienced FBA sellers on Amazon. It is quite difficult to use, but it\’s important. And with a step-by-step guide, this article will help you to understand the entire process.
Choose the Right Shipping Method
Even though shipping is at the end of the supply chain, it should not be overlooked. Before you ship your goods from China to Amazon FBA, you must first decide on a method of delivery. This gives you an idea of the length and shipping costs of the transit. Some sellers have lost their opportunity to earn more profit simply because they could not decide which shipping method was appropriate for them to start their procurement. In this article, we’ll cover the 3 most common shipping methods you can use when you can use them, as well as a few of their advantages and disadvantages.
The three main shipping methods include:
- Express shipping
- Sea freight
Express shipping is the fastest method of shipping. You are usually required to pay an extra shipping cost for this type of shipping, as the shipment will get transported to you anywhere you choose within the shortest time possible.
Express shipping from China to Amazon FBA is ideal for shipments with volume and gross weight under 1 CBM and 200 kilograms. For shipments of this scale, the suppliers can get a fair rate from their local freight forwarders. However, if you already have a partnership with a freight forwarder in China, it might be helpful to get a quote from them in case a problem occurs during the transit.
Air Express is the fastest way to get your goods shipped to Amazon FBA. However, the time saved comes with a premium. Before COVID, the cost of air express to the US would range around $4 to $6 per kilogram for general cargo. This cost has increased to more than 100% as of the time of writing this article.
Express shipping services are advantageous because they deliver the products directly to Amazon, however, this comes with certain risks. There are times when the shipment would necessitate additional conditions, such as the completion of a form. The shipment may be returned to China if it is mishandled. The buyer will be responsible for any and all costs incurred. Therefore, finding a reliable freight forwarder is also highly recommended since they will ensure that all enforcement requirements are met before shipping.
When your cargo weighs more than 200 kilograms and occupies more than 2 CBM, air freight is the best choice. When transporting air freight, it\’s best to use a freight forwarder based in China, as they\’ll be able to take advantage of their high volume rates to get you a much cheaper price than your supplier or if you tried to organize the shipment yourself.
Airfreight has the benefit of being much quicker than sea freight, and for small-volume shipments, it can also be cheaper than a Sea LCL shipment. The average time for air freight to arrive in the United States is 5 to 9 days after leaving China.
Airfreight is normally less expensive per kilogram than express shipping. Aside from that, the factor used to calculate the volume weight is higher, implying that shipping goods charged with the volume weight is less expensive than shipping goods via air express. The volume weight is calculated by dividing the total CBM by 6000.
While air freight is normally less expensive than express shipping, there are times when it may be more expensive. As a result, it\’s best to consult with your freight forwarder to determine which alternative is best for you. Another drawback is that some goods, such as aerosol cans or sprays, dry ice, and lithium batteries, are not permitted to be shipped by air freight. If you\’re unsure, ask your freight forwarder if your product can be shipped by air if you intend to use this route.
Sea Freight is typically the best option when the good’s volume is at least 2 CBM or weighs 400kg or more.
There are two common options when shipping via ocean freight from China to Amazon FBA; Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL). The volume will dictate which of the two options are more suitable for your shipment.
LCL shipments can be up to three times more costly per cubic meter than FCL shipments. It is, however, the best choice for cargoes less than 14 CBM. Even if your products do not fill the entire container, FCL might be a better option if the cargo is larger than the specified amount.
The key benefit of sea freight is that it is much less expensive than express shipping or air freight from China to Amazon FBA, provided that the cargo meets the minimum volume and weight requirements of 2 CBM and 400 kilograms. Apart from the cost, sea freight may typically transport cargo that cannot be transported by air. Since it is a less expensive choice than air shipping, the travel time is a trade-off. As a result, it\’s a good idea to prepare ahead and add some logistics buffer to prevent any supply chain disruptions.
Contact a China-Based Freight Forwarder
Once you\’ve decided on the best method for shipping your goods, you can contact a reliable freight forwarder for a quote. If you\’re not sure which form to use, you can also ask your freight forwarder for advice.
You should not leave shipping in the possession of your supplier. The supplier\’s job is to manufacture products and assist you in exporting them from China. They are unlikely to have in-depth knowledge of your destination country\’s importing requirements, Amazon FBA labeling requirements, or other relevant information. Furthermore, since a freight forwarder is in the business of transporting goods, they would be able to negotiate much lower shipping rates than the supplier or if you attempted to arrange shipment yourself.
Another benefit of using a China-based freight forwarder is that you can communicate directly with your supplier, which saves time, particularly when there is a significant time zone difference. Having a freight forwarder in China would give you further confidence that your products will leave the country in good condition and with proper shipping labels.
Run a Quality Inspection on Your Goods
It\’s important to keep in mind that if you ship goods directly from China to Amazon FBA, you won\’t be able to check the goods until they arrive at Amazon\’s doorstep.
We suggest scheduling a quality control check when your products are still in the factory to provide an additional layer of security. Pre-Shipment Inspection should be conducted by a reputable inspection company to ensure that the goods meet your and Amazon\’s requirements.
These services are, fortunately, relatively inexpensive in China. The best companies also allow you to buy quality control services with a single click of a button, and your products can be inspected in as little as 24 hours after you make your reservation.
Create an Amazon Shipping Plan
The next step will be to schedule your China to Amazon FBA Shipping Plan in Seller Central now that your goods have been quality-checked. Amazon has a step-by-step guide on how to do it. As an Amazon Seller, it is recommended that you stay up to date with any updates, so the list of criteria is best found on Amazon\’s website.
Package and Label Goods Correctly for Amazon
Following the creation of the shipping schedule, the Amazon FBA warehouse will be informed to expect your products. The next move is to get your products packaged to Amazon\’s specifications.
Factory workers will usually follow basic instructions for applying labels to product packaging. A quality control inspection will assist you in determining if the factory correctly labeled anything. However, when there are several SKUs for different varieties or several items that need to be kitted, a more complicated FBA labeling process is needed. Finding service providers who can do FBA prep is a safer choice in these situations.
How to Package Your Goods for Amazon FBA
To begin, you\’ll want to package your products so that they don\’t get damaged during transportation. To cover delicate objects, it can be as easy as using an OPP/polybag or even bubble wrap. Below is a rundown of the most important things to look for while shipping to Amazon:
- If the packaging is in the form of a polybag or a single package, you must ensure that the barcodes are safe and readable. Each Barcode or FNSKU must correspond to the correct product variation. Different colors and sizes, for example, would each have their own barcode.
- Products sold as a set must be packaged as a set.
- Polybags must have a thickness of at least 1.5 millimeters. A suffocation warning label or written is needed for those with an opening of at least five inches or more. Please refer to Amazon\’s most recent policies and standards for the most up-to-date print size based on the poly bag\’s dimensions.
In addition to the list above, it’s also vital for you to consider the packaging size and weight as Amazon imposes additional fees for oversized and overweight items.
Next will be to think about the master carton and outer packaging after the items have been individually packaged. The following is a list of Amazon\’s master carton packaging requirements:
- Six-sided carton packaging with intact flaps is needed.
- Each carton must be labeled with its unique shipping label that is readable.
- Unless the products are declared to be oversized cartons, standard-size cartons do not exceed 25 inches on either side and weigh no more than 50 pounds. Overweight cartons require additional labels to determine the type of lift required.
Amazon\’s policies and standards change regularly, so it\’s best to review their website for the most up-to-date details.
When should you palletize your goods pre-shipment?
A pallet is a platform that is commonly used in transporting multiple cartons or commercial goods. It helps forklifts and other lifting equipment to lift and move goods over short distances, such as when loading and unloading containers. It makes moving several cartons at once much easier. Pallets are most often made of wood or plastic.
All shipments to Amazon FBA warehouses do not need palletized cartons. As a result, it\’s best to anticipate when you\’ll need pallets for your shipment.
The pallets that can be used for shipments going to Amazon FBA warehouses must meet a set of Amazon FBA specifications. Amazon US, for example, recognizes GMA Standard B Grade wooden pallets measuring 40′′ by 48′′. (or higher). To stop shipments being refused, make sure to search the most recent list through Seller Central.
The volume and weight of the shipment must be considered when shipping, regardless of the method. Pallets are bulky and heavy, making shipping them costly. To save costs in shipping, we often suggest that clients arrange the palletization once they have reached the destination. This will help you from paying a higher shipping price, and we recommend it if you want to ship pallets.
While it is preferable to palletize shipments upon arrival in the destination region, there would be an exception for extremely fragile items such as ceramic plates and borosilicate glass products. The entire container is transported to the final destination in an FCL shipment. As a result, palletizing the products in China and then loading the pallets into a container is more cost-effective.
How to Label Your Goods for Amazon FBA
To prevent delays or rejection of products by Amazon FBA, it\’s critical to label the cartons correctly. Here are the basic FBA preparations for general cargo.
- FBA Shipping Label – Each carton must have its own FBA shipping label, according to Amazon FBA. When you confirm a shipping plan in your Seller Central account, the shipping labels will be produced.
- FNSKU – Each unit of the packaging must have a unique barcode produced from your Seller\’s account when the product listing is created. Since various variations would have different FNSK xxU, it\’s best to double-check that all products are labeled correctly based on their color, size, and shape.
Get a Container Loading Check Inspection
You now know that complying with Amazon\’s FBA policies and regulations for delivering your products to their warehouse entails several specific requirements.
It\’s critical to perform a container loading inspection regardless of the shipping method. And the very worst thing that may happen is that you go through all of this hassle just to have your goods delayed or refused by Amazon due to a lack of proper packaging and labeling. Fortunately, like a Pre-shipment Inspection, this can be ordered online for a low price and completed in as little as 24 hours after the booking is made.
Always Get Freight Insurance when Shipping to Amazon FBA
Shipping your products to Amazon will, in general, pass through many hands, particularly for regular cargo shipments including air and sea freight. A handling map for a standard LCL and air freight is shown below.:
- From supplier to the hub
- From the transport hub to the carrier
- From carrier to logistics hub
- From logistics hub to warehouse
- From the warehouse to Amazon FBA
Accidents do happen, and the products are at risk of being destroyed. When the products are destroyed, it is almost always difficult to obtain compensation. It\’s just not worth the risk to ship your products without freight insurance, after all, you\’ve spent. Depending on the insurance policy, freight insurance will protect your products from the moment they leave your supplier until they arrive at Amazon FBA. It is extremely cost-effective and provides peace of mind.
Contact a Customs Broker to Get Your Shipping Documents in Order
Now that your goods have been protected against damage, it\’s time to get your shipping documents in order. To prevent delays, fines, or getting your goods rejected outright, we always suggest using a qualified customs broker. A trained customs broker can ensure that all of your documents meet the importing criteria of your destination, including:
- Telex Release – the shipper\’s permission to the carrier to release the shipment to the consignee even though the original copy of the bill of lading is missing.
- Bill of Lading – This document serves as the title to the goods and is required by the carrier in order for the goods to be released to the consignee.
- Commercial Invoice – A commercial invoice is a document issued by a supplier or suppliers that states the total amount of products sold to the buyer.
- Packing list – displays the shipment\’s breakdown, including the number of cartons for each variety. It also displays information about the carton, such as its dimensions and weight.
Track Your Shipment
Last but not least, keep track of your shipment. If you\’re shipping via Air Express, such as DHL or UPS, you can easily monitor your package using the tracking number provided by the shipper. Your shipment can also be tracked via your reliable and well-established Freight Forwarder.
We hope that the steps outlined in this article will assist you in shipping from China to Amazon FBA more efficiently. You may hire a shipping agent to assist you in selecting and handling your shipment, which is beneficial in almost every way but time and money.
And If you\’re looking for a freight forwarder, we strongly advise you to give Marshall Linux Logistics a try. On shipping arrangements, we have a one-stop service with the lowest service rate.