Amazon Pallet Requirements: Costly Mistakes To Avoid

We have compiled information here on Amazon’s requirements for pallets. The information has been obtained from published Amazon guidelines and our own experience of delivering goods to FBA centers. Please use the provided information for reference only, and when in doubt contact Amazon through Seller Central or by calling Transportation Hotline at 1-866-203-8372.

Though Amazon fulfillment warehouses can accept floor loaded cargo in some cases, the standard requirement is that the goods should be palletized when delivered to FBA centers. Pallets that don’t comply with Amazon’s requirements could be rejected.

Here are basic Amazon requirements for the incoming pallets:

  • Pallet material: wood
  • Pallet size: 40 inch x 48 inch (1000 mm x 1200 mm)
  • Type of pallet: four-way access
  • Pallet quality: GMA Standard B Grade or higher (at least 6 boards on top and 4 on bottom)
  • Maximum weight: 1,500.00 lb. (675 kg)
  • Maximum height: ~69 inch (1750 mm) including pallet itself
  • Overhang over the pallet edge: no carton overhang is allowed (small, 1 inch overhang might still be acceptable)
  • Pallet wrapping: clear plastic stretch wrap

Now comes the tricky part: as you can see from the above, Amazon requires wooden pallets. However, all imported wood packaging materials, including pallets, should meet the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) policy, “D-98-08: Requirements for the Entry of Wood Packaging Material into Canada”. The measures are in place to prevent importation of wooden pallets infested with serious pests.

The CFIA has more stringent requirements for wooden pallets arriving from China than from other countries. The CFIA doesn’t allow usage of Chinese Phytosanitary Certificates to confirm wood treatment (heat treatment or fumigation). The only acceptable solid wood pallets arriving from China are those that are compliant with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15). Such pallets would bear the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) seal (mark):

ISPM-15 compliant pallets are difficult to get in China and their cost is very high. In addition, there is always a risk that a non-compliant pallet (without the IPPC mark or refurbished) slips through the cracks. Shipments that contain non-compliant wood pallets entering Canada could be ordered to be removed from Canada at the importer’s expense.

Consequently, Amazon sellers have three options when it comes to palletizing goods arriving from China:

● Ask vendors to use expensive, ISPM-15 compliant wooden pallets bearing the IPPC mark and diligently follow up with the suppliers to make sure that they adhere to your instructions.

● Ship non-palletized cartons from China and palletize after arrival to Canada. The palletization provides extra protection for the goods during transportation and transloading. So, this might not be a good option, if you ship some fragile goods or weak cartons by less-than-container service, which always involves multiple transloads and shipping in consolidated containers with other, sometimes heavy goods.

● At your own risk, use very well-built plywood pallets that resemble solid wood pallets and hope that Amazon will not reject them. Plywood, as being a manufactured wood product, is exempt from the above mentioned CFIA requirements.