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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cummings

Incoterms 2024 Explained for Amazon Sellers

Updated: Jan 10

Incoterms 2024 Explained: International Shipping Guidelines for Businesses

Attention, Amazon Sellers!

Picture this: You have an opportunity to enhance efficiency, cut down costs, and ensure safety in your freight endeavors. How? By understanding the ins and outs of Incoterms! In case you didn't know, mastering this set of guidelines in international shipping holds the key to streamlining your import and export shipping processes like never before.

No more uncertainty or confusion. Our breakdown of Incoterms will shed light on their various types, their practical applications, and the incredible benefits they bring to your business.

Don't let the complexity hold you back – take charge of your freight operations and drive success in your Amazon selling journey!

You might also be confused about the differences between FCL vs LCL freight. Read our article here to get a clear comparison of both shipping methods.

Key Takeaways

  • Incoterms are globally recognized rules that define responsibility and liability during shipment.

  • Understanding different types of incoterms can help streamline shipping operations and avoid customs complications.

  • Incoterms provide benefits such as improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced safety in freight shipping.

  • Some key incoterms to be aware of in 2024: FOB, FCA, CIP, DDP, CFR, FAS, CPT, and CIF.

What are Incoterms (2024) in Freight?

Incoterms, or International Commerce Terms, are globally recognized rules set by the International Chamber of Commerce. These terms establish clear and concise definitions for common shipping and trade jargon, eliminating any potential confusion.

They play a critical role in international trade by providing specific instructions about who carries the responsibility and liability during shipment.

For instance, consider FOB - a commonly used incoterm that stands for 'Free on Board'. Its main function is to indicate exactly when the ownership of goods gets transferred from a seller to a buyer during transit.

Similarly, DDP or 'Delivered Duty Paid', another type of incoterm, specifies that the seller is responsible for all stages of transporting goods - right up until they're unloaded at the buyer's designated location.

Essentially your choice of incoterm influences which party -the seller or buyer- assumes certain costs, risks, and responsibilities associated with delivery so understanding them helps streamline operations efficiently while negating unnecessary complications within logistics.

You might also be interested in our detailed guide for working with freight forwarders. Check out our article on Amazon Freight Fowarders here.

Incoterms List

You, as an Amazon seller, would find it beneficial to familiarize yourself with the different Incoterms as they define the responsibilities and liabilities during freight transportation.

Here are some key incoterms to be aware of:

  1. FOB (Free On Board): The seller's responsibility ends when the goods are loaded onto the vessel at the port of shipment.

  2. FCA (Free Carrier): The seller arranges most or all of the export country stages, such as customs and trucking.

  3. CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): The seller is responsible for shipping and insurance costs until the goods reach the specified destination.

  4. DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): The seller is liable for the entire shipment, including duties, taxes, and other expenses, until it is delivered to the buyer's location.

  5. CFR (Cost and Freight): The seller is responsible for delivering the goods to a named port of destination and covering the cost of transportation.

  6. FAS (Free Alongside Ship): The seller places the goods alongside or on a vessel nominated by them at a specific port of shipment.

  7. CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller covers transportation costs to deliver the goods to a specific destination agreed upon with the buyer.

  8. CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight): The seller is responsible for delivering goods to the named port of destination, along with the cost of insurance and freight.

Benefits of Incoterms

Incoterms offer several benefits, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and improved safety and health.

Improved efficiency

Incoterms play a significant role in improving the efficiency of your shipments. By clearly defining the responsibilities and liabilities of both buyers and sellers, Incoterms ensure that everyone involved understands their role in the shipping process.

With this clarity, you can streamline your operations, reduce delays, and avoid misunderstandings. Additionally, having a good understanding of Incoterms allows you to choose the most appropriate term for each shipment, which can help optimize your logistics processes and ultimately improve overall operational efficiency.

By following the guidelines provided by Incoterms, you can effectively manage your international trade transactions and minimize potential risks or disputes. This leads to smoother customs clearance procedures and reduces administrative burdens on both parties.

Ultimately, improved efficiency in understanding and implementing Incoterms results in faster delivery times, cost savings, and better customer satisfaction.

Reduced costs

Reduced costs are one of the key benefits of using Incoterms in freight shipping. By clearly defining the responsibilities and liabilities between the buyer and seller, Incoterms help to streamline the shipping process and avoid unnecessary expenses.

For example, by choosing an Incoterm like FOB (Free On Board), where responsibility transfers to the buyer at a specific point, sellers can avoid costly fees associated with delivery to the destination.

Similarly, using an Incoterm like DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) ensures that all import duties and taxes are taken care of by the seller, minimizing unexpected costs for buyers. With a better understanding of Incoterms and their impact on shipping, Amazon Sellers can make more informed decisions that result in reduced costs for their business.

Improved safety and health

Incoterms play a crucial role in improving safety and health during the shipment of goods. By clearly defining the responsibilities and liabilities of both the buyer and seller, Incoterms ensure that proper measures are taken to protect workers and prevent accidents.

For example, under terms like Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), the seller is responsible for the entire shipment, including unloading the goods. This helps reduce risks associated with handling heavy or hazardous items, as well as ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

Similarly, other Incoterms such as Carriage Paid To (CPT) or Cost and Freight (CFR) outline specific obligations related to transport and insurance, further enhancing safety protocols throughout the shipping process.

Incoterms Mastery: A Game-Changer in International Trade

With the evolving landscape of global commerce, staying up-to-date with the latest regulations and guidelines is essential. Armed with the knowledge of Incoterms 2024, you can confidently navigate the complexities of international shipments, optimize your supply chain, and mitigate risks effectively.

By streamlining your shipping processes and ensuring clear communication with your trading partners, you position your business for success in the dynamic world of international trade.

So, embrace the power of Incoterms 2024 and propel your business towards greater efficiency, profitability, and global success. Here's to a future of seamless trade and prosperous ventures!

On a related note - are you aware of the differences between TEU and FEU container shipping? If not, then read this article to get a clear comparison and find out which is best for your Amazon business.


1. What are Incoterms and why are they important in freight shipping?

Incoterms are international rules that define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in a contract for the delivery of goods. They are important in freight shipping as they clarify who is responsible for transportation costs, insurance, customs clearance, and other aspects of the shipment.

2. Are there different types of Incoterms and what do they mean?

Yes, there are different types of Incoterms such as EXW (Ex Works), FOB (Free on Board), CIF (Cost Insurance Freight), etc. Each type specifies where ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer, who is responsible for arranging transportation, and who bears risk during transit.

3. Why is it important to understand Incoterms before engaging in international trade?

It is important to understand Incoterms before engaging in international trade because they help avoid misunderstandings or disputes between buyers and sellers regarding their respective obligations and liabilities throughout the shipment process.

4. What is the benefit of mastering Incoterms in 2024 for an Amazon seller?

Mastering Incoterms in 2024 is highly beneficial for an Amazon seller as it provides a competitive edge in the global marketplace. Understanding these trade rules enables the seller to negotiate better terms with suppliers, accurately calculate shipping costs, and avoid disputes with buyers over responsibilities and liabilities during shipments. By harnessing the power of Incoterms, sellers can streamline their shipping processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and maximize profitability in their international trade endeavors.

5. Do Incoterms 2024 cover customs duties and taxes?

No, Incoterms 2024 do not address customs duties or taxes; these aspects are handled separately by the relevant authorities in the importing country.

6. Can Incoterms 2024 be used for domestic shipments?

Yes, Incoterms 2024 can be used for both international and domestic shipments to define the obligations and responsibilities of the parties involved.

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