Shipping FBA Inventory from China to UK with SEND: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
After leaving the European Union (EU) in 2020, UK’s largest import market is China. The country imported £63.6 billion Chinese goods in 2021, which represented 13.3% of all foreign products shipped in to the UK.
According to the British Chamber of Commerce, the exit allowed the country to “independently control its trade,” changing the way in which it interacts with trading partners.
One such change is introducing the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) system, which enables the country to set its own tariff rates for imports with any international trading partners like China. As a result of this change, “over 3,500 products have seen tariffs canceled, reduced, or simplified – enhancing market access and thus encouraging further growth in the UK-China trade.”
However, UK’s departure from the EU also added some complexities around its import law and regulations that could make market entry difficult for some sellers. For instance, dealing with UK customs alone can be a long, arduous process that the government itself suggests hiring customs brokers or freight forwarders to help speed things up.
This is where Amazon’s new logistics service called SEND comes in handy. 🤔
It’s a shipping solution that allows you to get your inventory:
- Picked-up by a partner carrier at a factory in China
- Cleared through customs and then shipped across Asia to a port in the UK
- Transported from the port to FBA centers in Great Britain
SEND essentially removes the middleman (3PLs, customs agents, or freight forwarders) from your supply chain, which may help lower shipping fees and cut down transit times.
You may also be eligible for the following fee reductions until April 12, 2023:
- Approximately 20% reduction on APCP fees for domestic shipments sent to UK FCs (from a UK shipping address to a UK fulfillment center).
- Up to 50% discount on APCP fees for domestic packages and palletized shipments shipped to Amazon facilities in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Aside from Amazon-facilitated cargo shipping, SEND also offers:
- Seller Central Integration
- FC locking enabling, which means your inventory will only go to a single FBA facility.
- Customs clearance
- Carrier rates negotiated by Amazon
- Shipment tracking
Downsides of Using SEND
While SEND sounds like a cheaper and quicker way to get your goods to the UK, it has a few disadvantages that should be taken into consideration when making a decision.
- Letting Amazon take over your supply chain may not be a good idea. What happens when things suddenly go south, and you don’t have a contingency plan? Shipping delays are almost always a guarantee, especially during peak season. That’s why it would be wise to set aside some extra stock in your backup 3PL or supplier’s warehouse for emergencies, instead of just putting your entire inventory in one basket, especially when that basket is Amazon.
- Can’t use your preferred carriers. When using APCP, you will be limited to carriers available within Amazon’s shipping network. You might have to spend extra time vetting those carriers you haven’t worked with before or pay a bit more to hire established carriers.
- Amazon may use your supplier information to their advantage. If you’re a top seller, chances are, Amazon’s already keeping a close eye on you. Similar to how they allegedly use seller data to develop competing products, they may use SEND to take a peek into your supplier information and undercut you by working with your supplier to create copycats.
- Amazon may just deliver your cargo from China to UK without checking it. Although not exactly a downside, as inspection is the seller’s responsibility, it’s still something that should be considered to prevent check-in delays at FBA. Amazon may also refuse to accept damaged or defective units. So, before handing your shipments over to Amazon, consider requesting detailed photos of your products and packaging labels from your supplier. Check if the goods meet your quality requirements or are packed correctly to minimize damage during transport. You may also hire a 3rd-party inspection company in China to do these things for you so that your supplier will be less likely to try and cut corners to save money.
In closing, hopefully this post has addressed the advantages and disadvantages of SEND or using APCP in general.
If you still want to give SEND a go, log in to Seller Central > FBA Inventory Dashboard > Select Product(s) > Send/Replenish Inventory to Amazon > Confirm Shipping > Amazon Partnered Carrier.
Or, click here to learn more about the program.