Most people don’t think about how products are transported, or if they do, they only really know about UPS, FedEx and USPS. While these are the big giants in courier services, there is a large sector of industry in product transportation. Many of the companies working in this industry are larger than the American public knows, though many work with corporations and do not do “final mile” delivery.
Before going further I want to familiarize you with a few terms that I have been, and will use. Final mile delivery and Courier companies go together. The final mile of delivery is the last leg of transportation, typically from a local hub, and normally delivered by a courier company. As you may have guessed a courier company is one that provides mainly the final leg of the delivery to a customer. A carrying company, on the other hand, provides what are called “linehaul” services. They move goods between a distribution or fulfillment center and deliver them to a local hub for a courier to deliver to the customer. This section of transport is the linehaul section of the delivery.
The major companies that work in courier services are fairly set. There isn’t a company looking to take over for UPS, though Amazon Logistics would have a pretty decent chance if they tried. The large carrying companies are also relatively safe. Some of the main carrying companies in the US (which you may have seen driving around on highways) are: J.B. Hunt, Swift, Taylor, and Echo GLobal Logistics (formerly Command LTD). These companies are utilized by other companies to deliver their goods, but they mainly work as contractors and they find truck drivers through various means. The companies that are soon to be in trouble are the third-party companies that help place truck drivers in their jobs with major carriers.
Amazon is currently designing an app (rumored to be launched this coming summer) that will remove these third-party companies, allowing truck drivers to find a driving job using an “Uber-like” app. If they are successful, not only will there be several companies losing money quickly as their former clients flock to this app (which will not charge the same paperwork fees the placement companies do) to find their next job. They aren’t just doing this out of the goodness of their heart, however. Amazon is a great company and they are working towards a goal that can help “blue-collar” workers hopefully make more bang for their buck, but they do have their own self-interest in mind. Implementing this app will allow Amazon to directly work with truck drivers and begin to sever ties with major trucking companies (this is why I said “relatively safe” earlier) and work directly with truck drivers.
My question for you is this: Do you believe that people will use this app? And if they do, will it have a lasting effect on the US trucking business?
If you want to read more about this topic I recommend Business Insiders article “Amazon is secretly building an ‘Uber for trucking’ app, setting its sights on a massive $800 billion market”