Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders- A Guide to International Shipping & Logistics

By Christopher Grant

June 5, 2024

If it's time to take your Amazon game to the next level and start importing goods, you're probably scratching your head wondering how best to get your products from your supplier into the USA, and on the shelves in the Amazon FBA warehouse.

Well, worry no more. You need an Amazon FBA freight forwarder. This article is going to give you an introduction to freight forwarders so you can navigate the world of international shipments with ease.

What is an Amazon FBA Freight Forwarder?

An Amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) freight forwarder is a logistics service that helps FBA sellers transport goods from a manufacturer or supplier, usually located overseas, to your own storage facility, third party prep center, or Amazon warehouse.

The reason we say tat they are usually overseas is that there is more to the process when you are dealing with international shipping. If you are located inside the US and shipping between states, you can normally handle the process on your own without too much hassle.

A freight forwarder will handle many of the following tasks to make your life a little easier:

Coordinating the Shipping Process

A freight forwarder will arrange for your products to be collected from the starting point, and they'll choose the best shipping methods based on your needs and budget.

Customs Clearance

This is where many sellers get confused. The international shipping process brings with it customs requirements, which your freight forwarder will handle as past of their service.

Shipment Consolidation and Deconsolidation

Your shipment might be a combination of products from different suppliers, so your freight forwarder will handle any consolidation of shipments required. At the receiving end, your shipment may also need to be broken down into separate shipment, which is called deconsolidation.


Sometimes your shipment may need to be stored in a warehouse until it is ready. Your freight forwarder may store items in their own facility or may arrange for a storage facility.

Product Prep for FBA

Depending on the services your freight forwarder offers, they may be able to prep your products to send directly to the Amazon FBA warehouse. If not, you can use an FBA prep center for this part of the process.

Shipment Tracking

Any reputable freight forwarder will have systems in place to allow you to track your shipments online. This helps you estimate time frames for when you can start listing and selling your products.


Part of a freight forwarder's role is to provide you insurance options for your shipment in the event that it gets lost or damaged during transit.

Of course you can handle all of this yourself, but a freight forwarder is there to offer expertise and take this extra work off your hands so you can focus on other parts of your Amazon business.

How Much Does an FBA Freight Forwarder Cost?

This is not an easy question to answer because there are so many variables at play. What we can do though is explain the different costs involved in the process.

  • Shipping & Transportation Costs
  • Storage Costs
  • Customs Bonds
  • Duties and Taxes
  • Shipping Insurances
  • Handling Charges
  • Labeling and Prepping

Freight Forwarder & Shipping Terminology

When you start looking at freight forwarders and shipping companies, you'll start seeing a lot of new terminology that you might not be familiar with.

Here's a handful of terms that you should know so you can understand how it all works:

Freight Forwarder: A company that arranges the transportation of goods on behalf of shippers, often handling documentation, warehousing, and customs clearance.

Bill of Lading (BOL): A legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper detailing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. It serves as a shipment receipt.

Consignee: The person or company to whom goods are shipped and delivered.

Shipper: The person or company sending the goods.

Carrier: The company or individual responsible for transporting the goods from the shipper to the consignee.

Freight: Goods being transported from one place to another.

Incoterms: International commercial terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers for the delivery of goods.

Containerization: The use of standardized containers for the efficient transport and handling of goods.

TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit): A measure used for capacity in container transportation, referring to a standard 20-foot long container.

LTL (Less than Truckload): A shipping option for smaller freight that doesn’t require a full truckload.

FTL (Full Truckload): A shipping method where a truck is fully loaded with goods from one shipper.

Intermodal Transportation: The use of two or more modes of transport to move goods (e.g., rail, truck, ship).

Customs Broker: A specialist who helps shippers clear their goods through customs.

Duty: A tax imposed on imports (and sometimes exports) by the customs authority of a country.

Tariff: A schedule of duties or taxes imposed by a government on imported or exported goods.

Freight Class: A classification system used in the transportation industry to categorize freight for pricing purposes based on factors like weight, dimensions, density, and value.

Demurrage: Charges incurred when cargo is left at a terminal beyond the allocated free time.

Detention: Fees charged when equipment (e.g., containers, trailers) is kept beyond the agreed-upon period.

Port of Loading (POL): The port where goods are loaded onto a vessel for transportation.

Port of Discharge (POD): The port where goods are unloaded from a vessel.

Lead Time: The total time it takes for a shipment to be delivered from the time the order is placed until it reaches its destination.

Air Waybill (AWB): A document accompanying goods shipped by an international courier to provide detailed information about the shipment and allow tracking.

Export Declaration: A document required by customs authorities for exporting goods, detailing the nature, value, and destination of the export.

HS Code (Harmonized System Code): A standardized numerical method of classifying traded products used by customs authorities around the world.

Cargo Insurance: Insurance that covers loss and damage to goods during transit.

Letter of Credit (LC): A document from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount.

Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC): A company that arranges ocean transportation for cargo without operating its own vessels.

Gross Weight: The total weight of the shipment, including packaging and container.

Net Weight: The weight of the actual goods being shipped, excluding packaging and container.

Freight Bill: An invoice issued by a carrier for the transportation of goods.

Finding the Best Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders

Without a doubt, the best way to find a decent freight forwarder is to get a personal recommendation from someone that has used one before.

If you're doing some research into FBA freight forwarders, here's a list of some of the more well-known ones out there.

Forwarder One

Forwarder One

Created by Amazon FBA sellers, which is a big plus if you ask me, Forwarder One specializes in FBA freight forwarding from China and they also provide Amazon FBA prep services. Customers of Forwarder One also get the added bonus of 2 weeks free storage which is a nice little perk.

For more information, get a free quote from Forwarder One.



Offering very similar FBA specific services as Forwarder One, FBA Bee is a China-based freight forwarder that offers a wide range of freight forwarding and FBA prep services.

For information on their pricing and services, take a look here.



Freightos is a freight comparison marketplace where you can compare rates from thousands of providers.

The information on the Freightos site is a little overwhelming, but if you know what you want you can get free quotes via the Freightos website.


Shipping can be a bit of a minefield to manage, but with the right Amazon freight forwarder you will save yourself a lot of time, effort, and stress. You'll even save money when using a forwarding service because they'll be able to find you the best rates for shipping and storage.

Have you used an Amazon freight forwarder before? I'd love to add them to this list if you had a great experience. Feel free to contact me and share your experience.

Thanks again for reading and happy shipping!

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