- Amazon is reportedly ramping up its ocean freight services "quietly and below the radar," as it aims to gain more control of its supply chain, USA Today reported.
- Since the beginning of last year, Amazon organized the shipment of more than 5,300 containers from China to the U.S., according to the report. Amazon did not respond to Supply Chain Dive's request for comment by press time.
- The containers are under the name Amazon Logistics or Beijing Century Joyo Courier Service, its subsidiary, traveling to either the Port of Long Beach or Port of Seattle and then onward to Amazon's distribution centers.
Trucks and vans, airplanes and now ocean shipping — Amazon is slowly making its way into all of the major freight modes.
Recently, Amazon has ramped up of its last-mile delivery services, from hiring its own delivery drivers to installing Amazon lockers in several locations. But as it accelerates ocean shipping services, Amazon is aiming for greater control of the first mile.
Amazon's move into the ocean freight world has been brewing for several years. Amazon China registered in 2016 with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to operate as an ocean freight forwarder, allowing Chinese sellers and manufacturers to send their goods to the U.S. via ship.
The move was a logical step for Amazon given the strong trade flows from China to U.S. customers. Third-party sellers in China dominate Amazon's apparel offerings, and many of those goods are purchased in the U.S.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, Amazon opened its program to sellers in the U.S., USA Today reported.
If Amazon manages to ramp up its ocean freight business, it will allow the e-commerce giant to differentiate itself from big-box retailers and e-commerce giants.
"There is no Walmart ocean freight," Michael Zakkour, executive vice president for global digital commerce with Tompkins International, told USA Today.