Amazon is looking for another way to upset the shipping and transport industry. According to a report from Business Insider, the online retailer is supposedly building an app that would connect truck drivers and shippers without a third-party middleman. The app appears to be Uber-esque in the sense that it would make it easier for truck drivers themselves to find shippers that need to move loads of packages and products. Typically, third-party brokers match drivers to shipping jobs and take a commission percentage from each job booked. According to the report, the app could have real-time pricing information and route directions for truck drivers to follow, as well as tracking and payment options.
Amazon has already put up job listings that seem directly related to this project. One such listing, for a Minneapolis-based principal product manager, says whoever fills the position will “lead technology product and program management for an exciting and confidential initiative in middle mile transportation organization.” Another is for a software development engineer in Amazon’s Transportation Technology division: “We see a brand new opportunity to fundamentally change the way people get the stuff they need, and make a big impact by cutting billions of dollars of transportation costs from the ecosystem.”
The retail giant is looking into many ways it could cut shipping costs (including the lofty goal of drone package delivery). Last year, Amazon announced a plan to deploy thousands of branded semi-trucks to transport packages between its facilities. Those would be used in place of existing non-branded semis and third-party shippers like FedEx and USPS. Amazon has also reportedly reached out to freight services technology companies. Many middlemen companies have developed apps to make the truck-booking process easier for shippers, but those companies make a profit from each booking they help facilitate.
The more shipping process steps Amazon controls, the lower costs are for the company overall. Not only would Amazon’s app be a convenient tool for drivers, but if it works, Amazon may look to offer the service to non-Amazon shippers for a fee as a business-to-business freight shipping service. This would provide another revenue stream for Amazon and would also help cut costs of its shipping operations. According to the Business Insider report, the app is scheduled to launch next summer. It has no official name yet.
http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/12/amazon-reportedly-making-an-app-to-connect-truck-drivers-and-shippers/ via http://arstechnica.com #CIO, #Technology