Freight Forwarding: What Is It? Why Successful Amazon Sellers Use Forwarders

Freight Forwarding: What Is It? Why Successful Amazon Sellers Use Forwarders

WHAT’S A FREIGHT FORWARDER AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

One of the biggest surprises to many new Amazon sellers is how big of a role logistics plays in the cost and effort of becoming an online seller and getting a product launched on Amazon.  When I launched my first private label product on the Amazon marketplace in 2013, I followed a blog post I found on selecting a product, finding a supplier, and negotiation tactics.  After finally selecting a product, paying a deposit, and starting production, I asked my supplier, almost as an afterthought, “Shipping is included in the price, right?”

Turns out I was very wrong, and my supplier kindly informed me that the price we agreed upon would only get my products to the port in China, and I was responsible for getting them to Amazon’s fulfillment center.

I quickly started searching around for companies that could ship from China to Amazon, but back then there was absolutely no information on the subject.  I had no idea what I was doing, or even what terminology to be searching for.  Luckily my supplier had a contact who could ship my product to the port of San Diego, where I could pick it up and get it the rest of the way to Amazon.  During the shipping process I got a fast education on shipping methods, transportation companies, container freight stations, customs brokers, customs duties, drayage, and a whole heap of other things that were completely foreign to me.

The shipment eventually got to Amazon, but by the time it did my initial investment in the business had quadrupled. With so much time, energy, and money going into the logistics of an Amazon business, it’s important for those selling in online marketplaces, both new and seasoned, to understand the processes of moving international cargo to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

FREIGHT FORWARDING FOR AMAZON SELLERS

Once your business grows beyond using air express (DHL, UPS, etc., typically expensive and ships door-to-door) or if you’re starting out with larger, heavier products, you’ll need an Amazon freight forwarder to move your goods from the manufacturer to your assigned Amazon fulfillment center.  While this process can be done on your own, it requires coordination with 4-6 different companies, and careful tracking of your shipment. Headaches and potentially large shipping and CBP fees can be mostly avoided when using a freight forwarder. Any good freight forwarders or Amazon freight services will be able to organize most or all the process for you, so you can focus on growing your business.

WHEN SHOULD I USE A FORWARDER?

Typically, it becomes more cost effective to use either air or sea freight when your total shipment weight reaches 300 lbs (135 kg).  Before then, the forwarder’s fee will outweigh any savings in cheaper shipping rates.

HOW CAN FBAFORWARD HELP ME?

FBAforward will coordinate your entire shipment from the time production is finished at your manufacturers until it is checked in at Amazon.  We work hard on your behalf to coordinate a freight forwarder and customs broker for your shipment, to make sure your goods ship and clear customs in a timely manner. We are the only Amazon-focused logistics company that guarantees compliance with your shipments to help ensure your account stays in good standing with Amazon (we all know how stressful that can be!).  We allow you to outsource the entire process so you can focus on your business, and trust us with the logistics.


Ryan Garrett
CEO and Co-Founder
Ryan oversees the day-to-day operations and overarching strategy of FBAforward. He holds a JD/MBA from the University of San Diego. During his professional career, he has worked in both public and private accounting industries. Ryan owned a successful Amazon business before recognizing a need for an all-in-one logistics company for Amazon sellers.

Comments (4)

  • Ronald Stone Reply

    I have my first shipment ready to ship next week from China to Amazon FBA.

    The shipment is 10 cases of 25x24x18 and GW will be 47 lbs, 1,000 pieces total. Each case will have 100 pieces.

    August 1, 2017 at 11:24 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Ronald,

      Thanks for reaching out! One of our consultants will be contacting you shortly.

      FBAforward

      August 7, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • Fruzsina Varga Reply

    Hi, I am so confused. What if the seller/manufacturer wants to ship with DHL which is a door-to-door service? Do I still need a freight forwarder? My product is not that big, definitely noting close to 300LB. I am just starting off and didn’t want to order a huge amount of products (only 300pc) from Pakistan. Do I still need a freight forwarder and if not, will DHL just ship it to the Amazon Fulfillment center if that is where I’ll tell them to ship?

    February 18, 2018 at 8:00 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hello,
      Yes, you can do that. There are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure that you trust your manufacturer’s product quality. IF you don’t, it would be well worth it to have a pre-inspection done or use a third party logistics company to do QA on your product once it arrives in the US. Also, Amazon will reject any shipments that arrive at their warehouses with duties due. If you are going to ship directly to their fulfillment centers, please check and double check that your manufacturer ships is with duties paid (usually referred to as DDP). Amazon will not pay any shipping or customs fees on your behalf. Once your shipments get larger, then it becomes more cost effective to use a 3PL like FBAforward to handle your shipments. Hope that helps!

      February 20, 2018 at 11:10 am

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