Amazon Using Out Bigger UPS
Amazon.com is launching a new fleet of bigger, boxier trucks like those favored by rival package carriers United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx, as it fights to fix widespread pandemic-fuelled delivery delays that sent customers into the arms of competitors like Walmart.
The world’s largest online retailer ordered more than 2,200 heavy-duty Utilimaster “walk-in” delivery trucks from Shyft Group, a Michigan-based specialty vehicle company, a spokeswoman from the company told Reuters. The company declined to say how many of the vehicles have been sent to Amazon delivery contractors, or where they would be deployed.
Amazon is under pressure to make good on one- and two-day deliveries promised to customers who subscribe to its $119 annual Prime service. Orders for food, computers, toys, and exercise equipment surged after states issued stay-at-home orders to battle the pandemic, overwhelming Amazon’s network and adding days and even weeks to delivery times.
Drivers assigned to the new trucks showed Reuters training materials from Wisconsin-based safety and compliance consultancy J.J. Keller & Associates, which confirmed that Amazon is a client. The Shyft Group did not respond to requests for comment.
Amazon Truck Drivers
One of the new trucks was seen recently operating in Chicago, according to a Reuters reporter. Training is underway in the Los Angeles area, drivers said.
While the world’s largest online retailer firm purchased the vehicles last year, the branded trucks have been parked for months in locations around the United States, including in the firm lots in New Jersey and California dairy country. The company declined to state why it waited so long to roll out the new fleet.
Drivers familiar with the new vehicles said they can carry more and bigger packages than the Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford Motor vans Amazon contractors dispatch around the country.
Two drivers, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation, opted not to switch to the new vehicles because they are heavier and more difficult to manoeuver than Amazon vans.
Amazon came under fire last year after ProPublica, BuzzFeed, and other news outlets reported on The company’s training practices and van accidents that resulted in injuries and deaths. The company said in an email Friday that van drivers must undergo training that includes two days of classroom instruction and two days of ride-along with experienced drivers.