When you expand your business to an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and fulfil with Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) or a third-party fulfilment provider, you’ll need to understand your obligations in the import/export process. Although you may want to handle some or all of these import/export steps yourself, it can be easier to hire a logistics provider such as a customs broker or a freight forwarder to handle the process for you. These providers may have the expertise and the time to make sure that your inventory moves from one place to another in a timely and secure manner.
If you engage the services of a customs broker or a freight forwarder to help you move inventory from one country to another, you must engage them directly. You must also directly make the arrangements for establishing the importer or exporter of record. Amazon cannot act in that capacity or make these arrangements for you.
Before you engage a customs broker or freight forwarder to help you move your inventory from one country to a fulfilment centre in another country, you will need to decide who will take on certain responsibilities:
Generally, the shipper is the exporter of record. Amazon will not act as the exporter of record. You may be able to contract with your customs broker or freight forwarder to act as the EOR.
The importer of record is responsible for ensuring that the shipment is successfully imported into the destination country. Responsibilities include filing legally required documents and paying assessed import duties and taxes. It is important to note that Amazon, including the fulfilment centres, will not serve as the importer of record for any shipment of FBA inventory. Any FBA inventory shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the importer of record will be refused and returned at the shipper’s expense—no exceptions.
A customs broker or freight forwarder may require you to complete the following forms:
|Example 1||Example 2|
|John Smith (owner of goods)||John Smith (owner of goods)|
|Attn: FBA program||Attn: FBA program|
|1850 Mercer Drive||500 McCarthy|
|Lexington, KY 40511, USA||Lewisberry, PA 17339, USA|
Although Amazon will not serve as importer of record, it may be listed as ultimate consignee on your shipping documentation—but only if you are listed as the owner and in care of is listed before the name of the Amazon entity.
If you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, your customs broker will still need contact you to collect your EIN or tax ID no. required for customs clearance. Your customs broker should not use the Amazon EIN or tax ID no. for customs clearance.
When your products are ready for shipment from the manufacturer or distributor, the shipper prepares the commercial invoice. It’s critical that the commercial invoice is accurate to avoid delays clearing customs. The following information should be included on the commercial invoice:
Amazon fulfilment centres have requirements for the shipments that they receive, including the size of the pallets and the type of truck that can deliver to the fulfilment centre. The Truckload delivery to Amazon help page provides the information that you need for preparing your shipment to an Amazon fulfilment centre. Paying attention to these requirements and best practices will help avoid delays in getting your inventory to the fulfilment centre and into your customers’ hands.
Arrange to have your shipments palletised before they arrive at the fulfilment centre whenever possible. Amazon’s fulfilment centres will accept floor-loaded shipments, but only if you request it in advance when you set up your shipment to the fulfilment centre. Additional charges may apply if the floor-loaded shipment requires extensive handling.
Make sure that your shipments comply with Amazon’s policies regarding inbound shipments. If Amazon refuses to accept your shipments, you are responsible for removing the shipment from the fulfilment centre. For shipments that contain loose cartons, each of which weighing less than 22.6 kg, you may find it better to ship your products through a courier service. The carrier that you use may depend on the destination country, as the services each carrier offers vary. If you do choose to ship your inventory to a fulfilment centre via a carrier service, you should check with the carrier to verify that they can clear your goods through customs based on the commercial invoice you provide them. If they cannot clear your goods based on the commercial invoice, then you may need to contact a customs broker.
There are many online resources that can help sellers determine rates and that can make shipping easier. The following are links to some companies that some sellers have found useful. Visit their websites directly to calculate the approximate shipping charges you can expect when fulfilling orders for the Amazon marketplaces in which you would like to list:
|Japan, Australia, and New Zealand||DHL|
Amazon is currently unable to return inventory stored in Amazon's fulfilment centres to an address outside Australia. Furthermore, FBA does not support pick-up options for sellers at Amazon fulfilment centres. If you wish to have FBA inventory returned to you, you must supply a return address in Australia. Visit the Remove inventory help page for further details .