Is Amazon’s Delivery Service the Death Knell for UPS and FedEx?

The stock valuations of both FedEx and UPS were down as reports surfaced of a plan by Amazon to begin a new delivery service called Shipping with Amazon. Amazon, which has been delivering some of its own shipments in certain markets for a while, did not deny the report.

While some analysts stated that the move should ‘send shivers down the spines of traditional delivery companies’, others have taken a more skeptical view of the move, one stating that Amazon will need 30 billion dollars and 30 years to build out infrastructure comparable to those of UPS and FedEx.

DHL, a European company already well-versed in the complexities of logistics, tried to enter the US market in the early 2000s and threw in the towel after spending over 600 million dollars on equipment, buildings and employees.

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Portland Logistics Startup Fleet Makes $10 Million Funding Announcement

This round of funding was led by Lufthansa Cargo, with participation from UPS and others. Also, Alexis von Hoensbroech, Lufthansa Cargo’s chief commercial officer, was named to Fleet’s board of directors.

Fleet founder and CEO Max Lock said the $10M Series A funding will enable the launch of the company’s Fleet GDS, the industry’s ‘first global distribution system’. Currently, businesses wishing to import products from overseas need to negotiate with warehouses, transportation and customs agents in the country of manufacture and also in the USA.

Typically, entities called freight forwarders handle those logistics, but their services tend to be expensive and inefficient. It’s also difficult to compare the services and costs of different freight forwarders, and the supply chain companies tend to use their own proprietary software, meaning communication can be slow and difficult. Fleet GDS aims to link all facets of the logistics and supply chain on a single platform, allowing shippers to save money and more closely track and manage shipments.

Lock began his entrepreneurial career at the age of 15 when he started Schoolboy Ice Cream. His experiences when trying to import paper cups for that business enlightened him to the difficulties a small business can face when trying to navigate the complexities of freight forwarders, customs agents, shippers, etc., and played a large part in convincing him of the need for a business such as Fleet. Now 22, he’s convinced that Fleet will deliver a much-needed dose of clarity to the murky field of import logistics and supply chains.

Business Booming for Trucking Companies

As the economy continues to improve, trucking companies are finding themselves with more business than they can handle. In December 2017 they were able to charge about 22% more than they had a year earlier in the short notice ‘spot’ shipment market.

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However, truckers are having difficulty ramping up their capability to handle the increased business. The main issue is finding enough qualified drivers to pilot the trucks. Currently, significant numbers of experienced drivers are retiring, and with the current low level of unemployment in the United States, potential new hires may find more attractive opportunities in other fields . In an effort to solve this problem, at least one logistics company is now offering free driver training.

Right now, the trucking firms have more trucks than drivers. The idle trucks are referred to as ‘unseated’. Transport companies may find it necessary to spend a large portion of their increased profits filling those seats. Overall, companies in the transportation/logistics field are still expected to report increased profits for the fourth quarter of 2017.

XPO Logistics Announces Continuation of Driver Training Program

Named by Forbe’s magazine as one of 2018’s most admired companies, XPO Logistics, Inc., with over 91,000 employees in 1444 locations in 32 countries, announced on January 18 that it would be continuing its national driver training program into 2018. This program promises a full time career as a driver upon graduation, while offering a part-time income while taking the no-cost CDL (commercial driver’s license) training. The aim is to attract at least 800 new employees.

The training at XPO’s driver schools, which are located at the company’s service centers across the United States, allows the students to work as part time dockworkers while enrolled. Driver training, which can cost $5000 at a commercial driving school, is provided at no charge. After completing the course and passing the licensing tests, the students enter a probationary period. Once this period is satisfactorily completed, they are eligible to be come full time XPO drivers, which qualifies them for benefits including 401k, profit-sharing, and health care.

The chief operating officer at XPO Logistics, Troy Cooper, stated “We welcome the opportunity to create quality driving careers for men and women who share our focus on safety. Our driver training program is a tuition-free path to a CDL and a satisfying career, with the added benefit of LTL routes that get our drivers home each night.”
For more info on the program go to