If you know of another U.S. company besides Amazon that could be “North America’s leading online ecommerce and fulfillment company,” please enlighten us. Michigan-based Spartan Fleet Vehicles and Services did not mention Amazon by name, but that’s how the specialty vehicle company press release described the customer that ordered at least 2,237 walk-in delivery vans for the second half of 2019.
It’s no secret Amazon is expanding its company-owned and controlled delivery fleet. In May, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos broke ground at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on a 3-million-square-foot cargo hub. The shipment facility will serve up to 100 Amazon Prime Air cargo planes when it opens in 2021.
When Mercedes-Benz opened its new $500 million Sprinter factory in North Charleston, South Carolina last fall, the automotive giant announced an initial order from Amazon for 20,000 vans.
According to Spartan’s release, prior to the order for 2,000-plus delivery vehicles, the company was already working on “exclusively produced cargo van upfit orders for the same customer.” Reading between the lines again, it sounds like Spartan is building the upfits for Amazon’s Mercedes Sprinters.
Check out what Spartan president Chad Heminover said about the company’s relationship with the unnamed customer. “This order underscores the value our customers place in having a one-stop-shop for custom upfits and complete vehicle provisioning capabilities across the full GVWR spectrum,” Heminover said in a statement.
It may be the Mercedes Sprinters and the Spartan delivery vans will be used with Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners Program, also announced in May. In the Delivery Service Partners Program Amazon helps independent contractors build and manage fleets of up to 40 Amazon-branded delivery vehicles. Amazon has a special fund to help qualified military veterans join the program. Amazon also encourages workers to quit their jobs with Amazon to join the Delivery program.
Amazon’s free one-day shipping program for Prime members for select products includes more than 10 million products according to an early June report on Amazon’s blog.
We don’t have the formula to apply to the relative sizes of Amazon’s products, customers, and orders that translates to the required number of last-mile delivery vehicles. With the company’s self-imposed mandate to control all levels of product delivery including last-mile service, it may be that the Mercedez-Benz Sprinter order and the Spartan orders for cargo upfits and complete walk-in delivery vans may be just the beginning.
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