New York Post

Moving the crowd

Amazon eyes delivering goods itself

- Post staff

More evidence is surfacing that Amazon is plowing into the delivery business.

Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant has quietly started delivering packages from third-party retailers that operate stores on its platform, according to a report.

The test program, being conducted on the West Coast ahead of an expected national rollout in 2018, is aimed at increasing the amount of goods available for two-day delivery.

It’s also giving investors in FedEx and UPS the jitters because those two national-delivery companies now handle those orders.

Amazon is calling the project Seller Flex, according to Bloomberg, which cited a person familiar with the test.

Under the program, Amazon would decide which third-party packages it would deliver and which would still get to customers’ homes with FedEx and UPS.

“We are using the same carrier partners to offer this program that we’ve used for years, including UPS, USPS and FedEx,” Amazon insisted in a statement.

Still, shares of Fedex dipped as much as 1.6 percent on the news before closing up slightly at $221.61. UPS fell 2.1 percent before closing down 0.7 percent at $118.20.

Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibilit­y and control over the last mile to shoppers’ doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandis­e in the outside sellers’ own facilities, according to Bloomberg.

For Bezos, control over the delivery could be key.

In 2013, a late rush of orders deep into the holiday shopping season caused FedEx and UPS to miss promised delivery dates. Amazon was forced to issue refunds to customers who didn’t get their gifts in time.

In February, Amazon revealed it will invest nearly $1.5 billion to create an aircargo hub in Kentucky that will span 900 acres. UPS’ big hub in nearby Louisville is 1,220 acres, while FedEx’s in Memphis, Tenn., is 900 acres.

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