Back to blog

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.

Learn About Coaching

All you need to know to manage the import/export of your Amazon inventory

Kennedell Amoo-Gottfried
January 11, 2022
September 16, 2022
All you need to know to manage the import/export of your Amazon inventory

There will likely come a time, not too far into your tenure as an FBA or third-party fulfilment business, where you’re going to want to expand your customer base outside the borders of your own home market. This will undoubtedly give you a higher potential for revenue, but will naturally come with more logistical challenges as you will need to import and export products internationally. 

You might want to take care of the shipping yourself, but realistically you will want to get a specialist customs broker or a freight forwarder to do it for you as you scale up shipments. Not only are they more capable of getting your products from point A to point B safely and reliably, but it frees you up to focus on other parts of your business. The most prominent of these handlers are UPS (Europe, US, Canada) and DHL (Europe, Japan).

It’s not a matter of simply calling them up and handing over the keys, however, as there are things you need to take care of before handing over your inventory. 

Getting set up

The first thing to know is that while Amazon will usually provide the option to do things for you automatically for a lot of other parts of your business, getting in touch with third-party shipping partners is one of those that you have to do directly yourself. Best practice is to actually do this as soon as you sign up for FBA if you know you’re going to ship internationally, as it can take time and you don’t want it to cost you sales. 

There are some roles that you need to have figured out for when you solicit a logistics provider: 

  • Exporter of record (EOR): Amazon will never take this role. This is the company that delivers the cargo to the destination country. You can strike an agreement with the customs broker or freight forwarder to take this responsibility. 
  • Importer of record (IOR): As with the EOR, Amazon will not take on this role and will refuse and return any inventory. The IOC is in charge of much of the paperwork - including filing any import duties and taxes - related to the successful import of products to the destination country. 
  • Consignee (Europe) / Ultimate Consignee (US): In Europe, the consignee is regarded as the owner of the shipment for custom purposes. Amazon won’t take this role either, but you can enter “in care of” then the name of the fulfilment center where it is being delivered. In the US, the ultimate consignee is simply the recipient of the shipment - Amazon can be be listed as consignee, but your customs broker has to contact Amazon ahead of time to give the EIN or Tax ID number for customs purposes. 

What does the logistics partner need?

As part of your arrangement with the freight forwarder or customs provider, you might need to complete some of the following documentation: 

  • Power of attorney: This authorizes the shipping partner to act on your behalf as they move products around the globe. 
  • Application for a continuous bond (US): You will need this for US Customs if you are importing into the US.
  • IOR Registration: Like the name suggests, to register as importer of record at the destination country. 
  • Credit application: This takes care of how you’re going to pay for the service. Depending on the arrangement, you could pay in cash upfront or through other mechanisms. 
  • Terms: Pretty standard - the terms and conditions of service with the logistics provider
  • Taxes and delivery costs: This needs to be sorted out in advance between you and the logistics company, as Amazon will not take on any of these itself. 
  • Deliver-to-party: papers on the final recipient, likely an Amazon fulfilment center. 


As with anything you’re doing with your Amazon business, make sure your deliveries are complying with Amazon’s policies for inbound deliveries, checking that any courier service you use can clear your products through customs at their destination. 

If need be, make sure your items are palletized before they arrive, and if your deliveries are floor-loaded (i.e. loose stacked boxes) then you need to request it ahead of time when you arrange the delivery at the fulfilment center, though additional fees may be charged if floor-loaded shipment require more handling. 

Keep in mind that Amazon is not able to return inventory stored in its fulfilment centers outside of just about any market they're in, including the US, Europe or Japan. 

Need help?


Schedule a free 30-minute audit call with a specialist today. 

Our Solution Architects are trained to understand your business and present your best options to grow on Amazon. All advice is customized to your needs.

About us


Threecolts acquires, launches, and grows eCommerce software & services, and owns other stellar businesses including Old Street Media, HotShp, SellerBench, Tactical Arbitrage, Bindwise, RefundSniper, ChannelReply, and FeedbackWhiz.

Old Street Media supports businesses with their advertising, inventory management, and other eCommerce services. We collaborate with over 4000 brands and have generated $600M in sales in the past year.

Reach out to HotShp for help with product titles, descriptions, bullet points, social posts, and blog posts.

Reach out to SellerBench for help with shipment reconciliation and FBA fee reimbursements. 99% of FBA sellers are owed money. Get your free audit today.

If you are more interested in the #1 Amazon Arbitrage software, try TacticalArbitrage. With over 6,000 users, TacticalArbitrage will help you discover profitable products to resell on Amazon.

Bindwise will help you to identify costly issues with your Amazon seller accounts. Receive instant Bindwise Alerts about everything related to your store on Amazon. 

RefundSniper is an international Amazon reimbursement service that runs audits on both Vendor Central and Seller Central. Find out how much you are owed by Amazon today.

If you're looking for a way to streamline multi-platform ecommerce support, ChannelReply has you covered. Cut your customer response time in half by having all your customer information in one hub. 

FeedbackWhiz is an Amazon sellers management software that helps merchants scale their business by automating email campaigns, improving seller feedback, getting more product reviews, monitoring listings, and analyzing profit and accounting data. 

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.