Amazon.com is launching a brand new fleet of larger, boxier vans like these favoured by rival bundle carriers United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx, because it fights to repair widespread pandemic-fuelled supply delays that despatched clients into the arms of opponents like Walmart.
The world’s largest on-line retailer ordered greater than 2,200 heavy-duty Utilimaster “walk-in” supply vans from Shyft Group, a Michigan-based specialty automobile firm, an Amazon spokeswoman informed Reuters. The corporate declined to say how most of the autos have been despatched to Amazon supply contractors, or the place they’d be deployed.
Amazon is below strain to make good on one- and two-day deliveries promised to clients who subscribe to its $119 annual Prime service. Orders for meals, computer systems, toys and train tools surged after states issued stay-at-home orders to battle the pandemic, overwhelming Amazon’s community and including days and even weeks to supply instances.
Drivers assigned to the brand new vans confirmed Reuters coaching supplies from Wisconsin-based security and compliance consultancy J.J. Keller & Associates, which confirmed that Amazon is a consumer. The Shyft Group didn’t reply to requests for remark.
One of many new Amazon vans was seen lately working in Chicago, in response to a Reuters reporter. Coaching is below approach within the Los Angeles space, drivers mentioned.
Whereas Amazon bought the autos final 12 months, the branded vans have been parked for months in places round the USA, together with in Amazon heaps in New Jersey and California dairy nation. The corporate declined to state why it waited so lengthy to roll out the brand new fleet.
Drivers aware of the brand new autos mentioned they’ll carry extra and larger packages than the Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford Motor vans Amazon contractors dispatch across the nation.
Two drivers, who declined to be named for concern of retaliation, opted to not swap to the brand new autos as a result of they’re heavier and harder to manoeuver than Amazon vans.
Amazon got here below hearth final 12 months after ProPublica, BuzzFeed, and different information shops reported on Amazon’s coaching practices and van accidents that resulted in accidents and deaths. Amazon mentioned in an electronic mail Friday that van drivers should bear coaching that features two days of classroom instruction and two days of ride-alongs with skilled drivers.
Amazon suspended its upstart Amazon Transport programme for non-Amazon packages in June to prioritise deliveries to its personal clients.
Amazon declined to say whether or not the brand new fleet can be used to restart that service, which competes immediately with UPS and FedEx.
© Thomson Reuters 2020