Amazon is testing a new delivery service that could reduce overcrowding in its factory warehouses and bring two-day Prime shipping to more of its products, according to a report from Bloomberg today. Amazon usually leaves last-mile delivery up to third-party partners, including FedEx and UPS, making this yet another move toward reducing its reliance on outside entities and vertically integrating its logistics chain.
The service started in India two years ago, and Amazon is secretly preparing to expand the service to the US. It’s already started on a trial basis near the West Coast, and will come to other states next year, according to Bloomberg. Amazon plans to call the program Seller Flex.
For a company that now operates experimental checkout-free grocery and drugstores, owns a nationwide supermarket chain, brick-and-mortar bookstores, a smart home line, and a video streaming service, Amazon’s next move seems to be sending the message that it really can do everything.
For Amazon, which spends billions of dollars every quarter on fulfillment, developing its own products and ensuring they get to your doorstep with the fewest amount of third-party businesses in between is a top priority. The company has in the past leased large numbers of Boeing cargo planes to help with logistics, and its most high-profile last-mile delivery initiative remains the in-progress Prime Air drone delivery project.
In a statement, FedEx asserted its commitment to innovating in the delivery space. “We don’t comment on speculative news stories but there continues to be reporting related to our networks and the transportation industry that demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the scale, infrastructure, and complexity involved in running a global transportation network,” Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx’s senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications, said in a statement given The Verge. “FedEx and other transportation providers are innovating as it relates to new services for e-commerce residential deliveries, but that is only one piece of the capabilities that we provide. Demand for our global portfolio continues to grow.”
Update at 8:48PM ET, 10/5: Added statement from FedEx.