By John Kearney
Amazon has announced the suspension of a pilot delivery program serving third-party vendors who sell on Amazon’s website, but don’t ship through its fulfillment centers. The program, geared toward vendors with warehouses in major cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, was launched in 2018. Since then, the boom in ecommerce retail sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has redirected Amazon’s attention from the needs of third-party vendors to handling a surge in its own orders.
Accordingly, the company remains focused on bolstering its in-house capabilities for long-haul truckload shipping between points of origin (factories, docks, airports) and its network of distribution centers. In October of last year, Amazon confirmed its intention to purchase its own heavy-duty tractors from Volvo and other manufacturers, and in May of this year rolled out its freight brokerage operation from a handful of pilot states to the entire lower 48. The company has also announced plans to hire 100,000 new employees—including truck drivers—for its U.S. warehouse and delivery operations.
These decisions underscore Amazon’s understanding of the importance of long-haul trucking to the overall supply chain. They also cast into sharp relief the continuing need for new drivers. The market is responding—some CDL schools have recently reported an upsurge of new students—but obstacles to the licensing of new truckers remain, in the form of DMV offices closed by the pandemic.
One way or another, the trucking industry needs to attract, train, and employ as many as a million new drivers over the next few years. One factor helping accomplish this is the growing use of virtual reality simulation, which both teaches students to deal with extreme situations and can shorten the amount of on-the-road training required. The technology, now in use in CDL schools around the country, has demonstrated, repeatedly, the ability to produce better, safer drivers.
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Advanced Training Systems has revolutionized the design and manufacture of high-tech simulators to improve driver training and create both better drivers and a safer world. In addition to hundreds of driving schools, we provide equipment and support for major shippers who do their own training, as well as customized solutions for those with particular training needs. For more information or to schedule a demo, please contact us here.