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In a fresh development, Amazon.com Inc’s China arm has registered as an ocean freight forwarder, according to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The move will give it more control over shipping products from Chinese factories to U.S. shoppers. The registration is the latest indication that Amazon plans to expand its logistics reach to cut costs for its retail business and potentially provide third-party logistics services to other industries.
Its new status as a freight forwarder, or non-vessel operating common carrier gives Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, a foothold in the $350 billion a year ocean freight business. It will not operate ships but subcontract that work. The company is already negotiating a deal to lease 20 jets to start an air-delivery service in the United States. The retailer bought truck trailers to add shipping capacity and started a program last year that uses a fleet of on-demand drivers to deliver packages. The Federal Maritime Commission, a U.S. government agency that regulates the U.S.-international ocean transportation system has said that a business named Beijing Century Joyo Courier Service Co Ltd, with the trade names Amazon China, Amazon.CN and Amazon Global Logistics China, was registered in its database to provide ocean freight services.
Amazon China submitted its registration request on Nov. 9 and it was reviewed and registered on Nov. 13. It is the entity’s first registration. Amazon’s ocean freight services will be far more attractive to Chinese sellers than to American buyers. Chinese suppliers would love direct access to Amazon’s vast American customer base. Petersen added that Amazon’s third-party merchants were unlikely to use its shipping service because it would expose key data like wholesale pricing and supplier names to a rival. An Amazon spokeswoman refused to comment.