Amazon.com is launching a brand new fleet of larger, boxier vehicles 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 prospects into the arms of rivals like Walmart.
The world’s largest on-line retailer ordered greater than 2,200 heavy-duty Utilimaster “walk-in” supply vehicles from Shyft Group, a Michigan-based specialty automobile firm, an Amazon spokeswoman informed Reuters. The firm declined to say how lots of the autos have been despatched to Amazon supply contractors, or the place they’d be deployed.
Amazon is underneath strain to make good on one- and two-day deliveries promised to prospects who subscribe to its $119 annual Prime service. Orders for meals, computer systems, toys and train gear 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 vehicles confirmed Reuters coaching supplies from Wisconsin-based security and compliance consultancy J.J. Keller & Associates, which confirmed that Amazon is a shopper. The Shyft Group didn’t reply to requests for remark.
One of the brand new Amazon vehicles was seen just lately working in Chicago, in response to a Reuters reporter. Training is underneath manner within the Los Angeles space, drivers stated.
While Amazon bought the autos final yr, the branded vehicles have been parked for months in areas across the United States, together with in Amazon tons in New Jersey and California dairy nation. The firm declined to state why it waited so lengthy to roll out the brand new fleet.
Drivers aware of the brand new autos stated 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 change to the brand new autos as a result of they’re heavier and harder to manoeuver than Amazon vans.
Amazon got here underneath fireplace final yr after ProPublica, BuzzFeed, and different information shops reported on Amazon’s coaching practices and van accidents that resulted in accidents and deaths. Amazon stated 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 Shipping programme for non-Amazon packages in June to prioritise deliveries to its personal prospects.
Amazon declined to say whether or not the brand new fleet can be used to restart that service, which competes instantly with UPS and FedEx.
© Thomson Reuters 2020