Inc. is stepping into international freight forwarding, opening up new options for suppliers in China to ship overseas.

Amazon’s China-based Beijing Century JOYO Courier Service Co. Ltd. recently registered with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission as a non-vessel operating common carrier, or NVOCC, authorizing it to provide freight-forwarding services for goods shipped from China, an FMC spokesman says. Beijing Century JOYO Service is registered on the FMC web site with the trade names Amazon China, and Amazon Global Logistics China.

Beijing Century JOYO Courier Service is registered with the FMC as a foreign-based carrier, though its registration doesn’t clarify where it may ship to, the spokesman says. Amazon did not immediately return a call for comment.

Logistics industry experts say Amazon appears to be preparing to provide services designed to expedite and cut the costs of shipping from China products to be sold to businesses and consumers through Amazon’s e-commerce sites, and to enhance the Fulfillment by Amazon service in which Amazon handles shipping on behalf of sellers on Amazon sites.  “Amazon China can provide freight-forwarding services to Chinese companies looking to move products directly into FBA warehouses, or perhaps even by cross-docking the goods for direct injection into Amazon’s courier network,” Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport, a provider of online freight-forwarding services, says in a blog on his website,

Petersen adds, however, that the freight-forwarding service might be most suitable to Chinese suppliers that want to ship products directly to Amazon and its Fulfillment by Amazon warehouses, rather than to third-party sellers that sell through Amazon’s sites. He suggests that shipments from Amazon China to third-party sellers would give Amazon too much information about what the sellers paid for imported products, enabling it to more aggressively compete on prices of similar products Amazon itself  sells on its e-commerce sites.


Zvi Schreiber, CEO of shipping services firm, says Amazon can be expected to challenge the mostly offline freight-forwarding companies by aggressively building out online services. “This underlines the need for freight forwarders to become more automated and more online,” he says.

Petersen also notes that Amazon appears to be planning to lease its own fleet of cargo jets, as noted The Seattle Times and other publications—a move that would complement its ocean freight-forwarding services. Amazon also has purchased long-haul truck trailers, branded with its Amazon Prime loyalty program on the side, to move goods between its roughly 100 U.S. warehouses, the company disclosed in December. On a more local level, Amazon has also been rolling out a service it calls Amazon Flex, an Uber-like service for making local deliveries of various types of products to customers.

Technically, Beijing Century JOYO Courier Service is not considered an actual “freight forwarder” by the FMC, but as an NVOCC it offers nearly the same services, including consolidating shipments from multiple shippers. One difference, according to the logistics industry website Shipping and Freight Resource, is that an NVOCC in some cases takes on the liability of a carrier for transported goods. In addition, an NVOCC can use a freight forwarder as a sales agent, but cannot serve as an agent for a freight forwarder.

Amazon Business, the B2B marketplace on, is No. 37 in the B2B E-Commerce 300, which ranks companies on their annual B2B  web sales.


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