As Amazon grows, so must it’s delivery partners. The eCommerce giant has been slowly laying the groundwork the last few years to sidestep USPS, UPS, and FedEx, by building its own logistics and delivery network.
Amazon took another step in that direction last week with a program to foster the creation of homegrown package delivery services that will help the company expand its delivery capabilities. According to Wednesday’s announcement, the new project involves delivery companies picking up packages from one of Amazon’s more than 75 delivery centers across the U.S. and taking the packages the “last mile” to shoppers’ homes.
The program gives new partner companies discounted rates on fuel, insurance, and delivery vans, as well as expert guidance and driver training from Amazon. There’s even a logistics app to assist delivery people which order should be dropped off when.
As part of the service launch, partner companies can take advantage of incentives like leasing new Amazon-branded vans as well as uniforms for their drivers. Amazon states that the partners can start their homegrown delivery services with as little as a $10,0000 investment. Amazon will also allocate up to $1 million for delivery businesses led by military veterans, in the form of $10,000 grants to each chosen business.
While it looks from the outside that Amazon is looking to take business away from the big three delivery companies, the folks at Amazon insist that not their intent.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide operations, said the initiative is about planning for a future of rapid e-commerce growth.
“Meeting our capacity needs five years, 10 years, 15, 20 years out in the future is going to require lots of incremental capacity for delivery,” Clark said.
The move is the latest step by Amazon to control more of the delivery logistics from distribution center to the customer.
Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners is just another part of the company’s own logistics network. It already has 7,000 of its own trucks and 40 airplanes which, along with external delivery partners, shipped more than 5 billion Prime items last year.