Middle-Mile Logistics Play Evolving Role in U.S. Consumer Supply Chain, from Supply & Demand Chain Executive, June 23, 2020. Following a successful pilot trial period in five Northeastern states, Amazon has rolled out its new freight brokerage operation to all 48 contiguous states—a move that will enable the e-commerce giant both to compete with other large digital brokerages and enhance its edge as a retailer during peak shipping season.

“In recent years, industry attention on e-commerce logistics has largely focused on last-mile delivery,” says John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems. “Middle-mile trucking, however, is emerging as perhaps the primary area of competition—and growth—in the U.S. consumer goods supply chain.”

Kearney notes that where last-mile transport refers to the delivery of goods from a fulfillment center to a customer or a retail store, middle-mile shipping is delivery from a point of origin to a fulfillment center. Middle-mile transport is customarily provided by digital freight brokers, who connect shippers with drivers.

While Amazon owns or leases thousands of truck trailers, it has traditionally relied on contractors or brokers to provide the tractors. In October of 2019, however, the company announced that it was purchasing heavy-duty tractors. Amazon’s long-term objective is said to be to gain more control over its supply chain.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s core business has seen explosive growth. To keep up with demand during the novel coronavirus outbreak and beyond, Amazon has announced plans to hire 100,000 new employees, including drivers, for its warehouse and delivery operations in the U.S.

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