Not surprisingly, Amazon announced this month that it would expand its freight brokerage platform throughout the U.S. after spending the last several months piloting a program in the Northeast. The move would give Amazon more trucking capacity to deliver its own freight or to sell that capacity to other carriers at cost or with a small profit.
Amazon is now offering brokerage services to 48 states. On its website, Amazon said, “We treat your shipment like our own, securing capacity with our reliable carrier network. As earth’s most customer-centric company, we provide the support and technology to make shipping easy with full shipment visibility and no blackout dates.”
In order to grab more shipping, Amazon offered rates up to 30% below market value in an attempt to garner dedicated service from independent, small, and medium-sized trucking companies. Some analysts are worried that Amazon’s new-found power could bring down shipping rates, although Amazon contends its new brokerage is intended only to
“better utilize its existing freight network.”
Still, experts fear that Amazon wants to take over the entire market and set middle-mile rates which would be in line with their past monopolistic tendencies. This would be a huge accomplishment for a company that is essentially a middleman, taking profits at every step of retail sales and shipping.
The introduction of the nationwide freight brokerage coincides with Amazon’s recent investments in technology companies which are developing autonomous vehicle hardware and software. One can only imagine a world where every big rig hauling coast to coast and every delivery van pulling up to your curb displays Amazon’s trademark A to Z logo.