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March 23, 2023
Choosing the right Amazon service for your inbound shipping needs
Having options is always a good thing. But sometimes multiple choices can make it tough to pick the right one for you, especially if it’s difficult to distinguish between them. When faced with such a dilemma, the science says the best way to make a decision is to compare the options together, rather than one at a time.

With that research in mind, we wanted to shed light on the two excellent options for getting your loads inbound to our facilities: Amazon Freight via freight.amazon.com and the Partnered Carrier Program through Seller Central. On the surface they may seem similar, and while that is true, this post will guide you through how to select the option that works for you based on your business needs.

The basics
When you hear Partnered Carrier Program, think Seller Central, the place where Amazon sellers manage their goods for listing on Amazon.com. The program is a shipping solution specifically for these users. It offers three inbound shipping modes: small parcel (SP), less than truckload (LTL), and full truckload (FTL) delivery.

You access it within Amazon Seller Central where you can take advantage of competitive prices with Amazon-trusted carriers at pre-negotiated rates. It allows you to manage both the selling of your goods and their inbound shipment plans in one place. Plus, the billing is done right to your Seller Central account.

On the other hand, there is Amazon Freight, the freight brokerage arm of Amazon that serves shippers of all sizes and taps into the Amazon network of more than 50,000 trailers and carriers. It too offers FTL and inbound shipping to Amazon facilities but also external FTL.

Access to Amazon Freight is through its easy-to-use portal where shippers can find competitive spot rates. All billing is done via credit card.

Choosing the right one for you
Like any decision, you first have to look inwards and assess your needs. Do a quick audit of the shipping you currently do. Are you mostly shipping inbound to Amazon or to external sites? Do your loads tend to be larger and result in FTLs or are they smaller and a better fit for LTL or even small parcel? What’s your volume?

You’ll also want to look at your typical workday as a shipper. If you’re an Amazon seller, you may spend a lot of time in Seller Central managing your goods. Get a sense as to how far out you plan and consider if you have the time and opportunity to consolidate loads.

With that information in hand, you’ll be able to make a better decision. But keep in mind that every shipper is different and the recommendations below are guidelines and may differ slightly for you.

Choosing the Partnered Carrier Program
Generally speaking, the Partnered Carrier Program is the best option for shippers who have most of their loads destined as inbound to Amazon facilities. It’s a shipping solution originally built for Amazon sellers and continues to be a great fit for inbound to Amazon. It also makes the most sense if you need the flexibility of being able to book different shipping modes such as small parcel based on needs by volume.

If you can plan a week or so ahead and depending on your shipping mode, you can secure shipments up to 14 days out. Once booked, you can track the status of your load. The Partnered Carrier Program is also ideal if you are an Amazon seller and frequently use Seller Central. In terms of support, if you have questions or concerns with your shipment, you can always get in touch by creating a case in Seller Central.

Choosing Amazon Freight
Like the Partnered Carrier program, Amazon Freight is an ideal inbound option for high volume shipping. Plus, with this volume, there's always the opportunity to consolidate your LTL shipments or shipments from multiple store fronts that are heading to the same fulfillment center.

If you’re shipping FTL externally to destinations outside of Amazon facilities, Amazon Freight is also right for you.

You can also book loads 14 days out in advance. Amazon Freight has a 24/7 customer support team available, dedicated transportation consultants, and keeps you up to speed on the status of your loads with live GPS trailer tracking.

Options made for you
Ultimately, we have these options to serve your varying needs, whatever they may be. Both aim to ease the inbound shipping workflow. Shipping in today’s dynamic transportation world has never been more complex, so we want to give you flexibility.

“At the end of the day, it's what works best for you,” says Max Sadler, Head of Amazon Inbound Sales and a former Amazon seller himself. “If you need simplicity and prefer LTL or small parcel, then the Partnered Carrier Program is your best bet. If you need dedicated rates, 24/7 customer support, and the capability to also ship to external facilities, then Amazon Freight is your best option.”

Get started
To begin shipping inbound to Amazon with the Partnered Carrier Program, you’ll need to first be enrolled as an eligible Amazon seller or as a Fulfillment by Amazon seller. Log into Seller Central and select “Amazon-partnered carrier” as your shipping option once you get to that step. Not an Amazon seller? Learn more here.

For booking with Amazon Freight, create an account and starting getting quotes in three easy steps.
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