UPDATE: Sept. 26, 2019: An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the acquisition to Supply Chain Dive after publication. "INLT is a smart, nimble team that is helping companies simplify and lower the cost of importing goods into the U.S." the spokesperson said in an email.
- Amazon acquired customs broker and technology startup INLT for an undisclosed amount, according to a report from Reuters. An Amazon spokesperson was not immediately available to confirm the news or provide further details.
- The acquisition will allow sellers on the Amazon marketplace to more easily navigate customs clearance during international shipping, the Reuters report said.
- INLT's website says it has the ability to file customs entries from anywhere in the United States. It also says it has "been acquired by Amazon and look[s] forward to working with them to develop the next generation of solutions for our current customers and Amazon Selling Partners."
INLT was founded in 2017, is based in Los Angeles and has raised $1 million to date, according to Crunchbase.
"A SaaS-enabled model has never been done in this industry and it’s the first 100% cloud-based application approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security," INLT's cofounder Caro Krissman said in an interview last year with LA Tech Watch.
The growth of e-commerce has led to an increase in packages being delivered not just within countries, but also across borders. Navigating various customs rules can present challenges to sellers and buyers, and manual processes can sometimes be a roadblock to e-commerce, according to a 2017 report from the World Customs Organization.
As demand for these services increase, it's an area where logistics companies are increasingly directing investment.
Just last month, FedEx acquired a freight forwarder and its customs brokerage affiliate based in Colombia to help it expand into Latin America, which it described as "a key market."
Likewise, Maersk acquired customs broker Vandegrift early this year saying it would help shippers to simplify their supply chains. The first public results of this deal were announced earlier this month when Maersk said it was creating a platform that would allow users to use one broker to coordinate customs filings in U.S. and Canada.