Over the holidays just past, online retail behemoth Amazon’s sleighbells jingled nonstop… in fact, to the tune of moving what it said amounted to more than a billion-with-a-B items for free under the Prime service here in the United States. JUST in the United States. To be clear.
One factor in the equation is that, according to a story written by Mark Solomon, managing editor, and published Dec. 26 by Freightwaves.com, “The surge in U.S. traffic eligible for free shipping was due to Americans purchasing 30-day trial subscriptions to the “Prime” service, which offers unlimited and guaranteed two-day deliveries of all eligible items on Amazon’ site, and to the company’s decision to waive, effective Nov. 5, holiday shipping charges for non-Prime members who spent $25 or less. The program was available only in the U.S., and it marked the first time all US customers received standard shipping — defined as deliveries made two to five business days from an order’s processing — since Amazon launched free shipping 16 years ago.”
The full story can be read at https://www.freightwaves.com/news/parcel/amazon-delivers-1-billion-free-us-items
At the same time we pondered the astronomical number of items and wonder what comprises an “item,” information Amazon holds close to the vest, we found it interesting that the company, according to freightwaves.com, “delivers about 10 percent of its own packages, according to data from ShipMatrix, a consultancy. The U.S. Postal Service handles about 62 percent, UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS) 21 percent, and FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) 7 percent, based on ShipMatrix data. The Amazon-centric figures also include traffic that is moved on its behalf by other delivery providers.”
And Solomon especially caught our attention with this: “In last year’s fourth quarter, Amazon’s shipping charges totaled more than $7.3 billion, a 31 percent increase from the 2016 totals. Amazon is building out its own shipping and logistics network ostensibly to meet its delivery guarantees amid soaring demand for orders. Amazon has denied that the strategy is designed to take market share from its delivery partners. However, third-party merchants that today use Amazon for merchandising and fulfillment buy others for delivery, may find it appealing to have Amazon as a one-stop shop for everything. Third-party merchants today account for nearly half of Amazon’s customer base.”
Does everything mean EVERYTHING?
CNN ran a story on Dec. 28 at https://www.abc57.com/news/amazon-helps-indiana-man-start-trucking-company written by Marc Mullins and bearing the headline “Amazon helps Indiana man start trucking company.” It tells the story of Steve Dance, owner of Dance Logistics in Indianapolis.
A former law enforcement officer whose leg injury moved him into the private sector and a trucking company, Dance said the logistics operation started out three years ago with one truck and a home office. Then came a partnership with Amazon.
One truck became two, and then three. And now, the article stated, Dance has 15 trucks and a staff of more than 20.
It said, “Applicants won’t need a CDL to get hired with his company, but they will eventually need it to drive. Because of the training background, Dance said, he is able to train people in-house.” Dance said that allows his company to take someone without prior experience but with a clean driving record, train them and help them get their CDL.
According to the story, “Dance Logistics is one of more than 15,800 trucking companies across the state, according to the American Transportation Research Institute… The same agency cites more than 195,000 trucking jobs in Indiana in 2016.”
And, the article continued, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2016, the average annual salary in the trucking industry was $44,478.”
With transportation one of the bigger focal points of the onion industry, this ongoing story bears watching. We’ll keep you posted.