FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Amazon.com Inc is testing a program to ship its sellers' goods, sending shares in FedEx and UPS tumbling even though analysts and the companies played down any near-term threat to the two global delivery businesses.
Amazon is running "Shipping with Amazon" in Los Angeles and possibly other locations, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
News of the test sparked investor concern that the world's largest online retailer would upend the shipping market. FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc shares were down more than 4% in Friday trading.FedEx, UPS and analysts played down the idea that a trial poses a near-term threat to the couriers' businesses.
Cowen and Co analyst Helane Becker estimated Amazon would have to invest $100 billion to build a global network of facilities, planes and trucks to compete with FedEx and UPS. The program, while still at an early stage, aims to reduce hurdles that some sellers face getting their inventory to Amazon's facilities.
Under the new process being tested, Amazon sends a truck to pick up sellers' products, which then takes inventory either directly to an Amazon fulfillment center or to the US Postal Service or to couriers like FedEx, depending on what's most cost-effective, said the person who spoke to Reuters. Amazon has run a number of experiments in Los Angeles because the city is spread out and is a big market for deliveries. "Shipping with Amazon" is currently intended for select third-party sellers in the test, not for businesses in general, and still it is not yet ready to roll out widely to sellers on Amazon, said the person.