If you want to sell Chinese made products on Amazon USA, you have to solve the problem of shipping the products to Amazon’s FBA warehouses in USA. The wise way is to find a professional FBA freight forwarding agent to help you operate.
What you need to deliver goods from China to FBA warehouse in the United States is door-to-door service. At present, many freight forwarders can provide it. They usually suggest ocean shipping from China to the USA, plus UPS delivery in the USA. If you ask about the transportation time limit of this service, the forwarder will generally tell you that it will be delivered to the FBA warehouse about 30 days after since your products have been delivered to their warehouse in China.
But in many cases, 30 days later, the goods would not arrive at the FBA warehouse. Although you have UPS tracking number, you can’t find any updated information on their official website. As shown in the screenshot below, the goods were delivered to the warehouse of the forwarder in China on February 3, but the scanning and delivery didn’t start until March 15. It’s been 45 days from Feb 3rd,2021.
You may be very anxious, but the only reply you can get from the forwarder is that UPS warehouse has reached full capacity with many goods overstocked, and you can’t expect any update in time. Is that the real reason? Now I will analyze this problem in detail.
The volume of goods sent from China to FBA warehouse in the US is very large and concentrated. Especially in Shenzhen, Yiwu and other areas where e-commerce and foreign trade are developing very well, a large number of Amazon goods need to be sent to the US. For maritime shipping, many powerful middlemen act as agents. They collect goods from the Chinese market, print UPS barcode, collect them at the port, and then load them into containers for shipment to Los Angeles port. After that, import customs clearance and container cargo reloading in Los Angeles warehouse will be carried out, and then cargo will be delivered to UPS or Fedex for last mile delivery.
We can see that in this process, the links that may cause delay are as follows:
(1) The collection time of export links leads to delay
After you deliver the goods to the forwarder’s warehouse in China, the forwarder must put your goods and other customers’ goods in the same container until they are full. In the off-season, your forwarder may not be able to assemble the goods meeting the minimum volume within the specified time, and can only wait a few days, thus delaying at least one voyage. Because your forwarder usually can’t give you direct shipment without a full container. In peak season, your forwarder may not be able to get enough shipping space, and too much cargo will delay at least one voyage.
(2) China customs inspection risk in export declaration
In the container where your goods are loaded, the freight forwarder may load more than 10 or even dozens of hundreds of kinds of goods at the same time. In the process of export declaration, such miscellaneous goods and so many product names will face the possibility of customs inspection. Once the goods are inspected, it will take 2-3 days to process. This greatly increases the possibility that the cargo will not catch up with the original booked ship and will have to be delayed to the next one.
(3) Sailing time and unloading time of shipping company
Although your forwarder may promise to take the fastest Matson shipping company from China to long beach. However, the ship space availability is very tight, often unable to get enough space. Second, there are two kinds of Matson service from China to the Long Beach. The sailing time of these two services may not be very different. The genuine Matson CLS service uses Matson’s own wharf for unloading, which can ensure that the ship will unload immediately on the same day or the next day after berthing. However, the so-called CLS plus service uses the public dock for unloading. In the current epidemic situation, berthing and unloading takes at least 5-7 days.
What’s more, your forwarder may not necessarily use Matson to transport your goods. Your cargo may be transported by other shipping companies, such as Zim, Evergreen and CMA. Although the sailing time at sea is only 2-3 days slower, it will take more than 8 days to unload at the wharf. In this way, there will be about two weeks to wait outside the port of Los Angeles.
(4) Inspection risk of US customs
The U.S. Customs will inspect many products imported from China, because as we said in point 2, the probability of inspection will be greatly increased if so many goods are put in one container and declared together. Once the U.S. customs inspection, coupled with the epidemic factors, the inspection yard often runs at full capacity, the inspection speed will be greatly reduced. This will also increase the speed of your goods release, thus affecting your arrival time.
(5) Shortage risk of terminal chassis and driver in Los Angeles port
In the US, container trucks will not be equipped with chassis. When carrying out import container transportation, it is necessary to rent chassis at the port before operation, and return it when the empty container is returned. Due to the epidemic situation, the efficiency of the port has declined, resulting in the failure to return chassis in time. This will affect the time when your container arrives at your forwarder’s U.S. warehouse. The epidemic also makes drivers need to wait in long lines to pick up goods at the port of Los Angeles. American drivers have a set working time. If they exceed their off-duty time, they will not wait there, but can only postpone to the next day. All of these greatly affect the time of your goods arrival at the warehouse.
(6) Risk of full warehouse and decrease of processing efficiency
You may also have to wait in line for containers unloading even they have arrived in Los Angeles warehouse. Because there are too many goods and there is not enough labor in the warehouse to unload. Customers can only make an appointment to enter the warehouse, but can’t expect to unload upon entering the warehouse. It will take a few more days.
(7) Risk of UPS processing efficiency
Now it’s time to talk about the processing efficiency of UPS. If you are successful in one to six links mentioned above with no obstacle. Then, at the last step, you will basically need to wait for a few days. UPS can scan to update online after receiving the goods. Of course, under the epidemic situation, the processing efficiency of UPS has been greatly reduced, which is beyond doubt. Maybe UPS needs a few days to deal with the goods you deliver from the warehouse. However, if your forwarder doesn’t ask UPS to pull away the goods in your warehouse in time, it may be because the quantity of goods in your warehouse is too much, and UPS can’t guarantee to pull away the goods in time. It may also be that your forwarder can’t deliver it to UPS in time.
The above seven links may delay the arrival time of your goods at Amazon warehouse. Is it a bit too much for UPS to bear all the responsibilities? When you choose a very cheap FBA transportation solution, you might as well consider the above seven links.
One of my clients once complained to me:IMPORTANT: do not mix our goods in the LCL with any goods that are not normal/common goods. We experienced a 3-months delay with US customs on a previous shipment because some wood products were mixed in the same container with our product.
So I suggest here: when you use these cheap transportation schemes to transport your Amazon goods, you might as well think about the above quotation from my customer.