Amazon’s Promising Freight Service Has a Truckload of Rivals

As Amazon.com Inc targets traditional brokerages that match shippers with truckers, it’s also battling a bevy of startups – including Uber Freight and a company funded by the eCommerce giant’s founder Jeff Bezos. The world’s biggest retailer made a splash in truck brokerage circles after Freight Waves reported on Friday that Amazon’s service, launched in a handful of Northeastern states last summer, was discounting market rates by as much as one-third. The company – which is investing billions of dollars to build an air, sea and land shipping network to contain its own costs – has never been shy about squeezing the companies it seeks to unseat. Analysts said its fight for a slice of the more than $700 billion U.S. companies spend on trucking each year could pose a long-term threat to leading truck brokers like C.H. Robinson Worldwide and United Parcel Service. But that could be offset by Amazon’s penchant for competing with the companies that sell on its site or pay for its services. Investors are betting that technology can transform the fragmented truck brokerage business that ran for decades on personal relationships and telephone calls. They’ve poured millions of dollars into startups like Uber, Transfix and Convoy – the latter of which raised nearly $270 million from Bezos and other backers.
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