If it seems you’re seeing more and more Amazon delivery trucks on the streets in the past few months, you’re not imagining things.
The retailer expects to deliver 5.9 billion packages this year, reports The Wall Street Journal, a 13% increase over last year’s total of 5.2 billion.
That’s more than either UPS, which expects to hit 5.3 billion packages this year, or FedEx, which delivered 3.05 billion for its last fiscal year. (The U.S. Postal Service still tops all three for parcel deliveries.)
That’s a big reversal from a few years ago, when the retailer depended on both rivals to do the bulk of its delivery work. And it’s something the long-standing delivery companies once believed to be impossible.
“Concerns about industry disruption continue to be fueled by fantastical—and I chose this word carefully—articles and reports,” former FedEx CEO Fred Smith said on a conference call with analysts in 2016. “In all likelihood, the primary deliverers of e-commerce shipments for the foreseeable future will be UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx.”
(Amazon and FedEx stopped working with each other in 2019.)
Amazon’s surge in delivery strength really took off in the early days of the pandemic. The company spent heavily to open new warehouses and logistics facilities, doubling the size of its network. It has also recruited small businesses to help it deliver packages and boost their revenues.
The company has no plans to slow down, either. Amazon announced plans earlier this year to double the number of its same-day delivery facilities in the U.S. The company said it had delivered more than 1.8 billion units to Prime members in the US with same-day or one-day delivery as of July 31 this year, up about fourfold from the same period in 2019.
The new leadership position in parcel delivery hasn’t come without headaches, though. Two years ago, Amazon agreed to pay $61.7 million as part of a settlement over charges it failed to pay drivers in its Amazon Flex program the full amount of tips they had received from customers over a 2.5-year period. And drivers have expressed concern about artificial intelligence cameras in their vehicles that constantly monitor them as they work.