This article applies to selling in: United Arab Emirates

Import and export inventory

When you expand your business to an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and fulfill with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or a third-party fulfillment 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 your inventory moves from one place to another in a timely and secure manner.

Tip: If you use FBA in an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and you wish to use the services of a logistics provider, the best practice is to contact one as soon as you sign up for FBA. The process for completing the necessary paperwork can take some time, and you do not want the process to delay getting your products into customers' hands.

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 fulfillment center in another country, you will need to decide who will take on certain responsibilities:

Exporter of record (EOR):

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.

Importer of record (IOR):

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 fulfillment centers, 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 IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.

  • Exporter of record (EOR): 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.
  • Importer of record (IOR): 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 fulfillment centers, 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 IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.
  • Ultimate consignee: While Amazon will not act as the Importer of Record, we may be listed as the Ultimate Consignee on your shipping documentation only if the name of the Amazon entity is followed by " in care of FBA."
  • If you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, your customs broker must contact Amazonin advance of delivering any inventory to obtain the EIN or Tax ID No. required for customs clearance.
Important: It is your responsibility to comply with all import and export laws and to ensure the imported goods comply with applicable laws and regulations. You may not import prohibited or restricted products without all of the required permits and authorisations. For example, the import of certain agricultural, food products, alcohol, plants and seeds, fish and wildlife products, or medication into certain countries may be prohibited or restricted.

Arrange shipment with a customs broker or freight forwarder

A customs broker or freight forwarder may require you to complete the following forms:

Power of Attorney:

When you sign a Power of Attorney, the customs broker or freight forwarder is authorized to act as your agent to get your inventory moved through the customs process.

Importer of Record registration:

Register as an IOR with customs authorities in the country where you are importing inventory. Amazon, including our fulfillment centers, will not serve as an IOR for any shipment of FBA inventory. This applies to shipments of any size or value, regardless of origin and product. Any FBA shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.

Terms and conditions:

The customs broker should spell out terms for you to help you understand who is responsible for the goods at every step of the shipment process.

Duties, taxes, and shipping costs:

Amazon will not be responsible for or collect any duties, taxes, or shipping costs associated with FBA inventory. All shipments are required to use Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping terms. Any shipment arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with collect charges, including any duties, taxes, or shipping costs, will be refused without further concession.

Deliver-to party:

An Amazon fulfillment center may be listed as the deliver-to party on your shipping documentation. Here are some examples of how this should appear on the shipping documentation:

Example 1 Example 2
John Smith (owner of goods) John Smith (owner of goods)
Attn: FBA programme Attn: FBA programme
1850 Mercer Drive 500 McCarthy
Lexington, KY 40511 USA Lewisberry, PA 17339 USA

Ultimate consignee

While Amazon will not act as the Importer of Record, we may be listed as the Ultimate Consignee on your shipping documentation only if the name of the Amazon entity is followed by " in care of FBA."

If you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, your customs broker must contact Amazonin advance of delivering any inventory to obtain the EIN or Tax ID No. required for customs clearance.

Commercial invoice

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 be accurate to avoid delays clearing customs. The following information should be included on the commercial invoice:

  • The date of the invoice.
  • The names of the buyer and seller, including addresses (Amazon should not be shown as the buyer or the seller on the commercial invoice).
  • The name and complete address of the seller or manufacturer.
  • The shipper's contact name, company name, address, and tax ID number.
  • The ship-to address. Here, enter "In care of," and then the name and address of the Amazon fulfillment center where you are shipping the products.
  • Importer of Record. This field must contain the shipper's name, if the same as the owner of the products. Do not leave this information blank; this will result in the shipment being refused and returned.
  • Shipment method.
  • Detailed description of the goods being invoiced. Include the following:
    • Customs Harmonized Codes, if known
    • Number of units
    • Unit values
    • Total value of each product. For samples or products with no commercial value, a nominal or fair-market value must be stated for customs purposes.
  • The type of currency of the transaction.
  • The terms of the sale. Note that correct terms must be Delivered Duty Paid (DDP). The shipper or FBA seller should pay all applicable duty and taxes and be responsible for clearing customs before delivery to the Amazon fulfillment center. You are not authorized to import goods in the name of Amazon or to show Amazon as the declarant or importer of record on the customs entry documentation.
  • Shipment tracking number. For shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers, include the Amazon FBA Shipment ID that you receive when you create the shipment in your Amazon seller account. The shipment tracking number can also be an air waybill number if you are sending the package via a carrier service such as FedEx or UPS.
  • Any certifications.
  • Name of the carrier transporting the goods.
  • Freight payment terms.
  • Reason for export.

Shipping best practices

Amazon fulfilment centres have requirements for the shipments they receive, including the size of the pallets and the type of truck that can deliver to the fulfilment centre.

Arrange to have your shipments palletized before they arrive at the fulfillment center whenever possible. Amazon's fulfillment centers will accept floor-loaded shipments but only if you request it in advance when you set up your shipment to the fulfillment center. 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 center. For shipments that contain loose cartons, each of which weighing less than 30 kg, you may find it better to ship your products through a courier service. The carrier 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 center 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.

Inbound Process at FC

Following is the work-flow that is followed at the time of delivery at our warehouses:

  • Driver reports at the FC security gate and gets pre-checkin done. Depending on the availability of the dock doors, secutiry team invites driver for vehicle check in.
  • Vehicle is let in to the yard and vehicle reports at the dock door, Safety and compliance checks are performed.
  • Invoice is collected and sample checks are performed in the vehicle
  • Vehicle unloading is completed -carton box level proof of delivery is provided (each item counted in case of high value items) and vehicle checks out of the FC premises. Inbound receiving start after this.
  • Compliance to following guideline with ensure that the shipment is not rejected at our warehouses, receiving happens at our warehouses smoothly and vehicle is turned around swiftly.
  • Typically, for on-time arrivals (vehicles that report at least 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment time slot), total Truck turn around time is expected to be less than 3 hours.

ME Inbound Freight refusal guidelines

General guidelines

  • Refusal of freight should be a last resort, all refusals are cost-intensive (regardless of freight terms) and negatively impact in-stock position of freight in question.
  • All vehicle must be pre-checked in even if the freight is going to be refused/sidelined.
  • Case must be noted in the google sheet immediately for all Refusals/sidelined shipments to ensure they are addressed properly and to prevent/reduce any additional costs that may incur due to delay.
  • All details of the defect in the shipment has to be updated in the google sheet (e.g. Number of SKUs checked in sample, what was the issue, incl. pictures as proof). This will help us to educate vendors & carriers to improve prior to the next delivery.

Safety

  • Over stacking of trucks; should not be more than 8 feet
  • First 3 feet of the truck should not exceed 6 ft. stacking so that stepping stool can be easily placed in the truck post unloading of the front stack.
  • Carton box weight should not exceed 46 kgs for mixed sort FCs - Amazon operated FCs. Weight of boxes stacked from 6 feet to 8 feet should be max. 15 kgs.
  • Delivery truck safety: Hinge of truck door should not be damaged, Hand brake of the vehicle should be in good working condition. Truck loading floor should not have any damages. Truck oil tank should not be leaking or fuming, Cartons should not be stacked above the sidewall height
  • For pallet loads, the contents must not overhang the pallet edge by more than 2 centimeters, with total pallet weight not exceeding 750 kg, Total pallet height should not exceed 1.6 Meters, including the height of the pallets
  • Drivers without valid id card/license number/abusive drivers/cleaners
  • Shipment containing sharp objects (i.e. knifes, screwdrivers) which are not prepped to ensure no exposed sharp edge to associates and customers
  • While loading, trucks should keep atleast 50 cm open space at the end of the truck for safe unloading of cargo in case of non – palletized

Documentation and Compliance

  • Truck reports to warehouse without a valid appointment
  • Shipment without required documentation i.e. Invoice with PO numbers, SKU/ASIN wise title, shipped qty for each of the ASINs
  • IF truck is more than 5 hours delayed from the appointment time then it will be rejected, if the delay is due to unforeseen reasons to be unloaded at the next empty slot

Packaging & Labelling

  • Cartons and Packaging materials (e.g. dunnage, Void fill) should sufficiently protect the items in transit. Large-sized dunnage, such as air pillows, full sheets of paper, sheet foam or bubble wrap should be used. Use of Styrofoam peanuts / Crinkle wrap / Shredded paper should be rejected.
  • Combo units should not be loosely bundled or bundled in the odd shape (Non-sort/ SIOC). They should be sealed so they cannot be separated and are clearly labelled as a set.
  • Products which are bundle packs should be sent to FC as one product, FC will not bundling and assembling items at the time receiving
  • Only standard polybags/ corrugates packed units will be accepted. Loose packing in carry bags/ sacks etc. will not be accepted
  • Units without basic primary packaging should not be accepted e.g. Luggage bags/ home décor (flowers, bed covers, bathroom fittings etc.)/ Furniture ASINs (chairs, temples etc.)/ automobile accessories (tyres/car screen blinds), soft toys etc. without a protective cover (i.e. stretch wrap/polybag/corrugated sheet) should not be accepted
  • Items with brand external packaging – requiring additional protection in terms of strechwrap/bubblewrap to avoid leakage and damage (e.g. individual items without packaging such as screw drivers, spatulas, liquid bottles, Toys with “try me” packaging with greater than 2.5 cm X 2.5 CM opening, fragile items) should not be a ground for rejection of items.
  • FC to prep the items before stowing. Refer Type of prep detail in appendix 1. In case of any confusion, FC to reach out to Inbound supply chain team (Not Applicable to Egypt and KSA)
  • Damaged cartons (Dent, tear which exposes products inside, wet boxes) If cartons have tear larger than the badge width – there are high changes of items inside could be damaged and the carton to be rejected. In case of damage smaller than badge width, FC team to open the carton for any physical damage to items. If internal units are damaged, entire carton to be rejected and POD should mention appropriately as per POD stamping SOP. Exception is only for WePay shipments where FCs to receive the shipment as normal. Complete freight should not be rejected, only damaged cartons are to be refused and POD should mention appropriately as per POD stamping SOP. Refer Damage standards in Appendix 4.
  • FnSKU/SKU labelling for Retail and FBS sellers – Currently for all FBS Sellers and non UPC retail shipment, FC does stickering prep activity – this is usually chargeable or is done by seller/vendor - should we include this a guideline for rejection going forward?

Inbound support service (Sidelining)/Missing from Inbound Prevention and FC constraints

  • Freight that fails sampling check – 5% of the total shipment ASINs (Min of 5 and max of 20 SKUs) will be checked for title match, UPC/Barcode linkages, PO expiry, Units not on PO and Expiry dates. If more than 20% of the items (min 2 items to be problematic) out of sample check are found be non-compliant then the entire shipment should be rejected
  • POs in the shipment is in closed/expired state
  • Multiple POs in single shipment and cartons are not segregated PO wise then the shipment should be rejected
  • All products should have minimum of 6 months or 50% of the shelf life remaining at the time of inbounding, products with shelf life less than 4 months not to be accepted at FCs

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