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Importing into an Amazon warehouse for your online store requires a certain bit of finesse:

When dealing with an outfit as large as Amazon, there are many rules that must be followed, so your shipments don’t get delayed or even turned around. We have been fortunate to work with many Amazon businesses, and we’ve learned about working with the e-commerce giant.

Whether freighting your goods from China or South East Asia, by ocean or air, when the shipments dock here & are cleared through the US Customs, more & other conditions have to be met prior to delivering to any Amazon warehouses.

Here are some importing tips that will help selling on Amazon become a breeze!

1. Getting started

To celebrate the  recent publication of our Incoterms 2010 quick reference guide, I’ve written several articles discussing how to choose and label the transaction process for getting your imports delivered without surprises. They included information about who is responsible for what, how long, and why we choose what we choose.

I suggest starting there first, because knowing when you take ownership is critical to your import planning, regardless of whether your delivering to an Amazon warehouse or any other destination.

You can find those articles here:

Once your China import purchased is finalized & the freight term is known, the following import documents should be requested prior to the shipping taking place:

  • Pro-forma commercial invoice showing the description, value & the harmonized system per item
  • Packing list with exact packed weights & dimensions

As aside note, we strongly favor an the following incoterm when buying from China: FOB China departure port or airport

The reasons for this are pretty simple. With more than 30 years in the business, ETC has seen just about every scenario you can imagine, and it has been demonstrated more often than not that it’s beneficial for importers to take control of their shipments the minute it boards the shipping vessel, otherwise you open yourself up to having no control over the following:

  • Dispatch date
  • Documentation not meeting the USA Customs regulations
  • Use of a Chinese freight network with an office in the USA that does not communicate with the customhouse broker here in a timely matter adding transfer costs
  • Use of a Chinese insurance company rather than a USA rated A insurer

We recommend that you always purchase from China & throughout South East Asia on an FOB departure port or airport (learn more about FOB Shipping HERE) & allow your US freight forwarders to assist you in gaining control of your purchase in China, giving you a head start with the following:

  • Early dispatch information
  • Verification that all documents meet the USA Customs regulation
  • Avoid missing filling 2 days prior to ocean freighting your IFS (import filing security)
  • Insure with a rated A insurance carrier
  • Get the harmonized system number (HS Code) that drives the duty rate.
  • For importers with repeated shipments, we procure a continuous bond

2. Special Requirements

For many US businesses importing from China & other origins that have accounts with Amazon, choose international freight forwarders that can make certain you meet the Amazon standards of accepting shipments into their warehouses. 

Whether imported via air or ocean freight from China & South East Asia, when the shipments dock here & are cleared through US Customs, more conditions have to be met prior to delivering to any Amazon warehouses.

  • Special labeling per box to be applied on your cargo (shipment), freight must be palletized and not all carriers are permitted by Amazon for domestic delivery, we use specific trucking companies to satisfy Amazon
  • Amazon picks up at warehouses, not from airlines or the port
  • They will ask you to leave the full truck trailer & to come back later, which many warehouses will not offer


Whether importing or exporting, regulations must be applied along with the conditions stipulated by E-commerce, and ultimately the importers or exporters are responsible for following all of the guidelines of the countries of origination & destination. Communications & coordination with overseas shipping as well as domestically with customs & any large entity, whether here or abroad, will require experiences, guidance & together we can do it.

Interested in getting a free freight rate quote for your Amazon imports? Click HERE: 

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