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Amazon is looking to strengthen its presence in the rail freight space in the US by opening the capacity of its fleet of 53-foot intermodal containers to other shippers.
The e-commerce giant’s Amazon Freight unit is bringing a train-borne logistics offering to the market, which puts it in direct competition with major US players in the sector, among them J.B. Hunt and Hub Group, as well intermodal marketing companies.
The move is in line with Amazon’s ongoing strategy to become a fully-fledged third-party logistics services provider to control more aspects of the supply chain, having been disappointed with external contractors, especially during periods of peak consumer demand.
This has entailed the creation of its own airline, operating its own airport hubs, having a non-vessel operating common carrier licence for ocean transport and having a fleet of thousands of truck trailers.
In 2019, Amazon acquired a batch of 250 containers, and the fleet has since grown to a total of more than 5,000 boxes, according to a US media report, with activity focused on the country’s West Coast.
Chris Oliver, senior manager of Amazon Freight Intermodal, set out the company’s rail freight offering: “With intermodal for external customers, we really started talking about how to go big because of the product that we had. We could compete on cost, speed, capacity and performance.
“You don’t have to have a relationship with a third party carrier or a railroad to be able to use the infrastructure and the capacity that we have. It is a full end-to-end solution for every customer. We help coordinate the drop-off of the container to be loaded. We’ll coordinate the pickup of that container and transportation to rail and provide oversight, using the technologies we have on every container and within our relay suite of products.”
This article first appeared on www.railfreight.com
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