Report: Amazon Begins Ocean Freight Operations

The Wall Street Journal, citing shipping documents reviewed by Ocean Audit, reported that Amazon Logistics helped ship at least 150 cargo containers from China since October.

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Amazon reportedly began handling some of its own ocean freight in recent months as it builds a global logistics operation.

The Wall Street Journal, citing shipping documents reviewed by Ocean Audit, reported that Amazon Logistics helped ship at least 150 cargo containers from China since October.

Amazon's Chinese arm last year registered as an ocean freight carrier in both the U.S. and China. Although the e-commerce giant would not own any ships, the designation allowed Amazon to transport goods from third-party sellers in China to the U.S. on ocean-going cargo vessels.

Amazon's existing logistics network would then move the goods from ports to the company's warehouses.

The Journal also noted that Amazon recently began posting rates for sorting, labeling and trucking -- services generally offered by large parcel carriers rather than online retailers.

Industry experts long speculated that Amazon hoped to build up its shipping capabilities. In addition to gaining more control over its supply chain and curbing rising shipping costs, analysts said that the company could offer its logistics services to third-parties -- which would place Amazon in direct competition with its current parcel partners.

Shortly after the company's ocean freight ambitions surfaced, reports detailed plans for a massive shipping network between suppliers in Asia and customers in the U.S. Last spring, the Journal reported the Amazon was in talks with software companies about coordinating its logistics network.

“This is just another cog in the supply chain that they’re putting under their control, as well as creating new revenue streams," John Haber, who heads supply chain consulting firm Spend Management Experts, told the paper this week.

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