The online retailer, which last year shipped more than 5 billion packages through its Prime program, said last week it is looking for hundreds of entrepreneurs “with little to no logistics experience” to set up their own delivery businesses — complete with Amazon-branded vehicles and uniforms. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.)
“Customer demand is higher than ever and we have a need to build more capacity,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a statement. “We are going to empower new, small businesses to form in order to take advantage of the growing opportunity in e-commerce package delivery.”
But labor professors say the arrangement allows Amazon to reap the benefits of a vast delivery network without having to shoulder many of the risks and liabilities involved.
Amazon has been looking for ways to cut costs on the “last mile” of deliveries, which is often the most expensive part of the fulfillment process. Last year it introduced Amazon Flex, which allows independent drivers to pick up shifts delivering packages around town. Amazon now allows delivery workers to take packages straight into shoppers’ homes or, in some cases, their parked cars.
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