shipping from China to Amazon

How Much Shipping from China to Amazon FBA Cost?

How Much Shipping from China to Amazon FBA Cost?

When it comes to launching any business, every feasibility report you make would have a great focus on the different costs associated with the business and your capacity to bear them.

The process of shipping from China to Amazon FBA is multifaceted, and hence every facet has a different set of costs associated with it.

The Four Different Shipping Transportation Methods

There are methods of shipping from China to Amazon FBA. Each of these methods has its own unique processes, characteristics, and costs.

Some of them might have endpoints that coincide with each, for instance, most of the processes that you can choose for Air and Sea freight are the same for both of them. The four different transportation methods are:

  • Express
  • Air and Sea Freight
  • Train (Only if you are shipping to Europe FBA)


Shipping Process

For shipments that are light and have less quantity of goods, express shipping is the easiest and most plausible transportation method. These goods are to be 1000lbs for instance. A courier company operates this entire process of shipping; consequently, the courier company deals with the customs related issues. All you need to do is track your cargo online.

Which express company to use?

Generally, it is recommended to acquire services from renowned courier services. FedEx and UPS are the most feasible courier services when shipping to the U.S due to their wide and branched out the delivery network.

Due to their professionalism when it comes to customs clearance, these two companies are the best choices.

However, people tend to choose the German company DHL since it is much cheaper in comparison. With DHL however, shipping is often delayed even though it is a better-established company.

In the scenario that you choose FedEx or UPS as your courier services, you don't necessarily need to contact the company. You can simply contact your Chinese supplier and consult him/her about the shipping and delivery cost of your goods into Amazon warehouses. Essentially, you will be paying your supplier to organize how the product is delivered to you.

Weight Considerations in Express Shipping

The typical calculation of shipping costs is done with regards to the dimensional weight and real weight of products whichever is more. This is because even if a product is lightweight if it occupies a large space charging it according to it’s real weight would be impractical. The formula for calculating the dimensional weight is:

Length in cm *Width in cm *Height in cm. The easier way of calculating the dimensional weight is by measuring the box the product is in.

Shipping Cost of Express Shipping

Shipping cost when using express services or any other service are never of a constant valFue. They fluctuate as circumstances change. Typically, FedEx price is $6-$7 per kg. This rough cost allows for people who indulge in this business to estimate the profitability of their imports. The price however always changes during a year, and there are high and low seasons for the prices.

Certain products are not allowed to be shipped via most express companies. These products include ones that contain batteries, liquid, and powder. The solution to this is finding agents that can connect you to regulated products shipping expresses. The express price, however, would be 50%-100% higher though.

The cost of shipping from China to the U.S is the same no matter which state you are shipping to. There are however some tips you can utilize in order to save funds. Firstly always remember that paying in China will cost you less than paying in the U.S. The best way to pay is to ask your supplier in China to quote the Express price and then pay. Secondly, for any cargo less than $800, there is no import duty imposed. Consequently, it is important to communicate with your supplier in advance to quote you value less than $800.

Shipping Time

FedEx has 2 kinds of delivery services. There is the FedEx International Priority delivery service that takes 2-3 working days. Then there is the FedEx International Economy, which takes 4-5 working days. FedEx IP, however, costs more.

Air and Sea Freight

Air and Sea freight shipments are recommended for shipments that are larger and quantitatively of greater value. Before you decide which of these to choose you to need to know about shipping quotes and other foundational details.

Shipping Quotes

Shipping quotes essentially estimate what your final landed cost would be. The two types of shipping quotes you will be getting are the Ex Works pricing terms and the Freight On Board pricing terms.

Freight on Board (FOB)

Also sometimes called the ‘free on board' pricing terms, the FOB terms mean that the seller has agreed to transport the goods to the port nearest to the buyers. This shipping cost is usually in addition to the cost of the product.

An example of a FOB pricing quote is $4.50 FOB (supplier is obligated to get the finished goods to the nearest port). FOB pricing quotes are generally recommended only for sea shipping.

Ex Works (EXW)

An Ex Works pricing quote is pretty much the opposite of a FOB quote. This means that the seller will only prepare and package goods until they are finished at their warehouse. The responsibility of transporting the goods to the port or the desired destination lies with the buyer.

Due to this EXW pricing is generally cheaper than FOB pricing. FOB pricing quotes are usually used if you plan to use air shipping. This is because carriers make a lot of stops at warehouses, which allows them just to pick the shipment up.

Which is the best Incoterm to use?

These incoterms are necessary for sea shipping The Less Than Container Load or LCL incoterm means that your consignment will be combined with other cargo being shipped to the same destination.

For this kind of shipment, you will have to hire freight forwarder. The Full Container Load or FCL shipping means that you would have an individual container for your shipment. Contrary to FCL shipments, which have a flat rate per container, LCL shipments are charged, based on the volume measure in cubic meters.

For smaller shipments, LCL shipping is a cost-effective solution since you need to pay per volume in cubic meters occupied. Simultaneously it is almost always cheaper than airfreight. Most times however LCL due to the freight agents charge 2-3 times more than FCL logistics.

The most important advantage of using FCL instead of LCL is that your shipment will be safer when using the FCL since you would have an individual container. With LCL the advantage is the shortened delivery time.

Dimensional Weight of Air and Sea Freight

Similar to express shipping air and sea freight shipping also take into consideration the dimensional weight of the shipment.

Air and Sea Freight Shipping - Directly to Amazon FBA

In the case of direct shipping, you would require two freight forwarders for sea shipping. There would be two forwarders one working from China and one in the U.S who will collaborate to handle the process. You can either hire an FBA freight-forwarded or let your supplier find an Amazon freight forwarder for you.

If your goods exceed 1000lb, you can use the airfreight, though not as convenient as express shipping since you would need a freight forwarder to handle customs check. Similar to sea freight airfreight will also charge $300/CBM although it will take a few days longer to arrive.

To lower the costs and avoid shipping to multiple fulfillment centers when shipping directly to Amazon you would be charged extra in the case of air shipping. This is an additional $0.30 per unit.

Shipping directly, however, does not allow you to domestically inspect your products for any damage before they get to Amazon. It is, however, the cheapest way to use sea freight. In the case of air express; however, this method is very expensive due to the added $0.30 per unit.

Shipping from Manufacturer to Home First

This method of shipping is designed for safety and control. Due to Amazon's strict quality requirements quality control is a necessity. If given a lot of bad reviews your product listing might be terminated.

First shipping to home makes that unlikely to happen since you are able to make sure that your products are up to the mark personally. Furthermore, if you do find any problems with your products, it is easier to fix them from home instead of paying a third-party.

This would, however, take a hit on your margins due to the added transportation cost. Especially when it comes to air shipping. Therefore it is recommended to use this method if your home is near a port to avoid extra transportation costs. This is one of the safest but costly methods to ship.

Shipping to a Preparation Centre First

Shipping to 3rd Party Logistics Companies is the safest method when it comes to shipping from China to Amazon FBA. Utilizing these preparation centers is advantageous in every regard except time and money. This is because a 3PL is likely to spend 2-5 days receiving your stock and preparing it.

Furthermore, the transit time will add a few more days to the estimated time when your shipment will be completed. Consequently using a middleman will add at least 1-2 weeks in lead-time. In terms of the cost, 3PLs are going to charge multiple charges.

Firstly, they will charge a receiving fee usually around $1-$5 per carton or $10-$50 per pallet. They also charge a pick/pack fee to ship the products, which do not include the carrier fees; this is around $1-$4. Any labeling like barcodes has their own fees normally around $0.1-$0.25, and finally, they charge a storage fee. When all of these charges are combined, your costs are drastically increased.

Using a preparation center however does guarantee safety and quality control, which is necessary to build a customer base.

Train Shipment

Train shipment is also an option when it comes to shipping from China to Amazon FBA. This, however, is only possible if you are shipping to the Europe FBA and is only usable for shipments 51Kg above.

Import Duties and what is the best way to pay them?

Customs Value

The way to calculate customs value is as follows:

CV= Product cost + Transportation cost (To the Chinese Port) + Export Clearance (China)

HS Code

Since it is manually impossible to check the contents of the boxes, there is an HS Code. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System or Harmonized System.

It is an internationally standardized system of names and numbers used to classify traded goods. Even if the customs value of a good is the same, the HS code can be different.

Best Way to Pay Them

The customs clearance procedure is an extremely complicated one. This is why it is advised to use freight forwarders to take care of the customs clearance. The first reason for this is that your Chinese supplier is unlikely to have a clear idea of the customs clearance procedures of specific countries like the U.S.,

On the contrary, your freight forwarder would know exactly what to do and how to do it. Secondly, the complexity of customs clearance differs from product to product.

This is why it is important to allow a professional to help you with this process. The most important thing that you need to be vigilant about is the documents required for customs clearance.

Documents like a commercial invoice, packing list and certificate of origin are essential for customs clearance. If there is an error in the clearance process, your shipment will be delayed making you incur a loss.


In conclusion, the different ways of shipping to Amazon FBA from China have their own distinct benefits and costs. Some methods are more expensive but also more reliable in terms of safety and quality control, for instance using a middleman. Other methods like directly shipping to Amazon FBA are your best choice if your focus is on cost control. It depends on your business model, and its characteristics.