Amazon has ordered 20,000 trucks from Mercedes-Benz to help power its new army of entrepreneurs creating small delivery businesses that will help Prime orders along the last mile to customers’ doorsteps.
This is in the broader context of Amazon’s efforts to handle more of its own rapidly shipping volume, lessen its reliance on major carriers and save on ballooning costs; its shelled out $21.7 billion for shipping in 2017.
Amazon will not own the vans but they will be handled by fleet management companies, who will then lease them to the delivery service owners. The news was announced jointly by Amazon and Mercedes parent Daimler at the opening of a new Mercedes plant in North Charleston, SC.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, told the Wall Street Journal that several business owners have completed training in Seattle and are using the new vans. Amazon is expecting at least 500 delivery companies to join the program, with 100 up and running in 2018.
While Amazon initially anticipated ordering 4,500 vans when the program was announced in late June, it has received tens of thousands of applications from potential delivery business owners with most still under review, requiring it to bump up the order.
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