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Amazon is trialling a new delivery service in the US for third-party merchants, according to Bloomberg sources, potentially encroaching on logistics partners FedEx and UPS.

The service, Seller Flex, is being tested on the West Coast, after being rolled out in India two years ago. Its aim is to introduce free two-day delivery for more products and help to reduce overcrowding in its warehouses by using merchants’ own facilities and overseeing delivery from merchant to customer.

There have long been breathless rumours that Amazon seeks to venture into the logistics space, though Amazon has so far insisted that such services are no more than supplementary; for example, to make up for courier delays during peak periods. Seller Flex, however, would be one more step into logistics territory.

FedEx remains sceptical about the threat posed by Amazon. “We don’t comment on speculative news stories,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications, “but there continues to be reporting… that demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the scale, infrastructure, and complexity involved in running a global transportation network.”

The response from UPS is more neutral: “We support all our customers with industry-leading e-commerce solutions and expect to expand these relationships further in the future.”

(Source: Bloomberg, The Verge)

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