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FreightWaves LIVENews

Amazon effect pushes traditional freight transport outside comfort zone (with video)

Ryan Rogers, chief transformation officer at Covenant Transportation Group, said the online retail giant has challenged the movers of goods as to what is possible.

Online retail giant Amazon has pushed traditional transportation and supply chain management companies to rethink how they facilitate the delivery of freight to businesses and consumers. 

“I think it’s amazing what they’ve been able to do, the disruption that it’s been able to create, and I think it’s challenged all industries across the board,” said Ryan Rogers, chief transformation officer for Covenant Transportation Group (NASDAQ: CVTI), during a discussion about the industry impacts of the “Amazon effect” at FreightWaves LIVE in Chicago on Nov. 12. 

Rogers knows a lot about Amazon, having worked for the company as a transportation executive before joining Covenant in January 2018. Earlier in his career, he also led the brokerage unit at U.S. Xpress.

Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the author of several books on supply chain management, said the Amazon effect has challenged transportation services providers by pushing more inventory into the supply chain.

“It’s had a major impact on transportation and expectations,” Rogers said. “What I like about Amazon is the fact that it has pushed us harder to be at the highest service level as possible.”

Waller said Amazon is not alone as a supply chain disruptor and there are emerging e-commerce players “nipping at their heels” with new solutions and products.

Rogers called the competition from small e-commerce firms a positive move for both online retail giants like Amazon and freight transportation providers. 

“It’s the smaller people that make the larger suppliers have to be more competitive and more innovative and look at their supply chain to see how they can get product there faster and being just as nimble as a small business can be,” he said.

Rogers operates his own small online men’s apparel company out of his house, which he referred to as a side hobby. “That’s what Amazon has done. It’s allowed people like myself to find and create a hobby on the side and be able to deliver and compete,” he said.

In Rogers’ view, the impact of the Amazon effect on supply chains is far from over. 

“When are we going to get to the point where I get on my phone and instead of saying what am I going to need today, why not just ship a box to my house? They probably know what I’m going to need or want. I’d say that’s an expectation of what we might see as well,” he said.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.

2 Comments

  1. As a former Amazon Hauler, I still receive load offers and have access to the load boards. I wrote a short Blog titled Is Amazon the Devil. In my Blog, I posted how many loads Amazon was posting for $60 per mile for 5,000 Mile Team Runs. When I was running assets earlier this year, I paid my team drivers $.30 per mile each. So I would be losing whatever I paid in taxes on their payroll and that is before we consider paying for the truck or maintenance or insurance or even fuel. I guess there are probably a few other things like fuel tax or replacing tires.

    Quoting Ryan Rogers from above ““It’s had a major impact on transportation and expectations,” Rogers said. “What I like about Amazon is the fact that it has pushed us harder to be at the highest service level as possible.”

    I personally think that his statement is complete hogwash. It is another perfect example of a Conglomerate trying to crush the little guy for their own bottom line. It does not take someone with more than 45 minutes in the industry to know offering $60 per mile will have no other outcome than to bankrupt the poor guy dumb enough to take it for cash flow sake.

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