Amazon plans to offer incentives to foster small independent delivery fleets

01 July, 2018, 00:56 | Author: Martin Tyler
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				Dave Clark Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations and an Amazon delivery van.			Reuters

Amazon.com is asking small-business owners to help deliver its goods, seeking to reduce its reliance on the U.S. Postal Service and other major delivery services as the number of packages it ships continues to climb.

The e-commerce company said "successful owners" can earn up to $300,000 annually with a fleet of up to 40 delivery vehicles. The online retailer is committing $1 million towards funding startup costs for military veterans.

This Amazon Delivery Service Partner program is in response to the company's high demand for package handlers.

Each delivery unit will start their day at one of 75 current Amazon stations in the USA where parcels ordered from Amazon.com are picked up by drivers wearing blue-collared shirts with an Amazon logo and black hats.

There will also be deals for owners on Amazon-branded vehicles, branded uniforms, fuel and comprehensive insurance coverage. "As we evaluated how to support our growth, we went back to our roots to share the opportunity with small-and-medium-sized businesses".

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Losing more of Amazon's business would hurt the delivery giants but not crush them.

Amazon is also taking a big leap in the delivery business.

The branded vans can only be used for Amazon deliveries, an Amazon spokeswoman said.

Clark said that the new program will supplement Amazon's existing shipping setups, and that all its usual relationships with partners, including the USPS, will remain intact.

Businesses will pick up Amazon packages from one of its 75 USA delivery stations before transporting them to buyers.

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The announcement follows public criticism of Amazon by President Donald Trump over the company's arrangement with the US Postal Service. "We looked at our history with small business on the Amazon marketplace platform and we said we can do the same thing in last mile and people can own a manageable size business", Dave Clark said.

Amazon's Delivery Service Partners is just another part of the company's own logistics network. "This is really about meeting growth for our future", he said.

Olaoluwa Abimbola, who was part of Amazon's test of the program, said that the amount of packages Amazon needs delivered keeps his business busy.

"Why is the United States Post Office [USPS], which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber or poorer?"

The company has been building up its own fleet of 7,000 of trucks and 40 airplanes to cover the "middle mile" of delivery.

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It could also improve Amazon's relationship with customers.

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