Amazon Enters Trillion Dollar Ocean Freight Business: How Many Jobs Will Vanish?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

Amazon has begun shipping products from Chinese merchant partners to its U.S. warehouses via its own ocean freighters.

Amazon used to outsource exclusively.

Question: How long will it be before Amazon has minimal to no staff on self-guided transports?


Supply Chain 247 reports Amazon Enters Trillion Dollar Ocean Freight Business.

Amazon doesn’t want to have to rely on (and pay) third-party delivery companies. It’s already taken control of lorries and planes and now it’s taking control of ships, The Wall Street Journal reports.


Specifically, the Seattle-headquartered ecommerce giant has started handling the shipment of goods from Chinese retailers that sell on its platform to its vast US warehouses.


Previously it left this to global freight-transportation companies.


Since October, Amazon has helped to ship some 150 containers of goods from China to the US, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cites shipping documents collected at ports of entry.


“Amazon has integrated all those services into one basket,” said Steve Ferreira, chief executive of Ocean Audit, in the report.


He noted that, for Amazon, creating this type of shipping service will give it “a lot of strategic value.”


Shipping is a trillion dollar industry, according to MIT Technology Review.

Supply Chain 247 Comment

I appreciate these supply chain articles. In contrast to Bloomberg, Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and essentially all of mainstream media, Supply Chain 247 links to its sources.

If you want to see the MIT review, the link is handy. Much of mainstream media would mention the article but not link to it.

Some of mainstream media would not credit the source at all.

In comparison, Bloomberg Econoday economic reports are a complete joke. Never, and I mean never does Econoday actually link to the BLS, BEA, Commerce, or Census report on which they base their economic commentary.

Question of the Day

With that slam out of the way, here’s my question that once again: How long will it be before Amazon has minimal to no staff on self-guided transports?

Self-guided ships has to be easier than self-driving cars. There will not be collisions. Risk of a cat or a human running out in front of the ship is zero.

There is hijacking risk, much greater than with cars or trucks, simply because help is far away. So, some minimal security crew will be needed, unlike trucking.

Guidance crew and maintenance crew, say goodbye, except perhaps a token person or two.

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dlfield's picture

Well, until the new tariffs kick in and puts Amazon out of business.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) dlfield Jan 28, 2017 2:55 PM

(((Jeff Bezos))) the new Soros.


Looney's picture


How long will it be before Amazon has minimal to no staff on self-guided transports?

Self-guided ships get hijacked by self-guided robo-pirates.   ;-)


boattrash's picture

Judging by some of his statements, Michael Shedlock may be a great economist, but he sure as hell is not, nor has ever been, a Merchant Mariner.

divingengineer's picture

He's a tool.
I sometimes read his blog.
He firmly believes that nobody but FIRE workers should ask for more than subsistence wages.

Ignatius's picture

Here's the plan:  we kill Bezos and divide his Amazon shares equally. 

Yeah, equal shares for them that's for the killin' should do it, and bonus shares for them that wield the knife.

And bonus shares, also, for him that gives Mish a permanent wedgie.

two hoots's picture

Capitalism is great until it passes you by.   Maybe a handicap capitalism would work.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) two hoots Jan 28, 2017 4:55 PM

Monopoly is not good, give someone else a chance.

Sherman Act, use it!

land_of_the_few's picture

Well I am pretty sure people from Papua could be trained up to do specifically his job ...... in fact, should! :P


max2205's picture

Really. If Jeff was so smart why can't he get hair to grow on his head 

OverTheHedge's picture

There are already issues with big ships running over small boats, fishing trawlers etc, especially in the English Chanel. Fully automated ships can only make things worse. I imagine e maritime law will be altered to give Amazon the right of way at all times.

boattrash's picture

Amazon won't cause a change in Maritime Law. As to collisions, yes they do happen, but actually, the groundings outnumber them, and many of those take place while Pilots are in the bridge.

de3de8's picture

Careful Jeff, Trump could sink you plan, tax their "Cheena" shit until they produce on equal terms, most important pay, environmental and safety.

FreshOutaSumfinForNufin's picture

If those ships are made by the same people who make the crap Amazon sells, they'll probably sink on their own.  Mr. Bezos, let me teacha you first aword in Mandarin: Big suplies, planned obsolescence

divingengineer's picture

There is only a crew of 14-22 seamen on the largest container ship.

Handful of Dust's picture

Now I might be able to get that "Genuine Authenic Rolex" on Amazon for $18.00 instead of having to go to China street market.


Smells fishy.

land_of_the_few's picture

So even the largest ones aren't big black and full of seamen?

Gosh darn it. Paging Chelsea Handler .... or her secret stage name, "Johnson"

Hmmmmm's picture

hahaha! lol He said seamen. haha can't stop!

scraping_by's picture

Self-driving this and that are actually drones, remotely controlled, with some sensing gear. Tesla's 'six months to autonomous' is an admission of that. So it's just like the CIA drone the Iranians spoofed a couple years ago. Take control and and you're in control.

And it can never be secured all the way. 1. Anything that runs code can be hacked. 2. Anything that can be hacked, will be hacked. 3. Anything that's hacked will eventually be used for mischief.

The bad guys will have to organize a black market to fence the goods, but with the globalist's race to the bottom forcing more and more people into economic insecurity, they'll have a high-quality labor pool to draw from. So that scenario's almost bankable.

MaxThrust's picture

Self guided ships have been on the front burner for quite a while. It's going to happen because less people are interested in living, for weeks at a time stuck on a cargo ship, and by having no crew to pay the ships can slow to 11 knots which is the recommended econ speed. Drunk bridge officers will be a thing of the past for self guided ships. Their movements will be monitored from an onshore station were staff can also be monitored.

Additonally they will be very hard to hijack, as there will not be any conventional controls and the decks can be armed with high pressure water cannon and a video system to control them.

Bobbyrib's picture

"Self-guided ships get hijacked by self-guided robo-pirates.   ;-)"

All you need is one hacker and millions of dollars in merchandise ends up in hands of thieves. I would love to see that happen.

BabaLooey's picture

I stopped buying anything from Amazon last year - alltogether.

It's my own way of giving Bezos my middle finger "standing ovation"


Black-Man's picture

Ditto here. I am SICK and TIRED of the counterfeit crap from Amazon. Rest assured if it was WalMart peddling counterfeit crap - snowflakes would be picketing headquarters and demanding "justice".

FX223's picture

I have never ordered anything from amazon...and never will.

Lorca's Novena's picture

I'm fairly certain Bozos was/is behind the DRYS scam.... which is about to happen again. Do they teach what Corporatocracy is in schools these days?

FreshOutaSumfinForNufin's picture

Right now would be an awesome time for Apple to introduce the I-Teleport.  Of course, people     would just want stuff yesterday until the  I-Time Travel comes out.  Then people will expect their minds read...Amazing paradigm shifts we're living in.

Kenyesian Seasonally-Adjusted Spot Gold's picture

Better question: How long before Amazon is no longer shipping products from China because they're too expensive after Trump's tax?


Hey, I guess those ships can always be used to bring stuff TO CHINA, right ?



Two-bits's picture

And don't forget the airship patents.

The Company.

A lot of strategic value...

Mr 9x19's picture

 aircraft servicing cost would kill the compagny.

that's whe he did not made it already before the 5 august 2016 and will probably not keep getting the idea to grow and prefer to get  more local drone based activities.

the more complex, the more vulnerable to multiple variables.

amazon = ali express =  energy depending,  less energy, no way for delivery, price increase, company crash.

should happen in more or less 10 years.

the mall era is done, we are in the internet era, but we already see some falling appart.


people forget that amazon do not manufacture anything, it is just a vendor.

land_of_the_few's picture

Yep, tgey aren't going to ship Chinese-made stuff to China ....

scraping_by's picture

Every middleman is vulnerable. If Amazon was just a website where manufacturers offered and consumers shopped, Bezos and his circle of asskissers, otherwise known as 'C' level management, wouldn't be socking away billions in offshore accounts. And that day will likely come, but for now they have billions to play with.

hotrod's picture

Bezos getting too big for his britches.

Kenyesian Seasonally-Adjusted Spot Gold's picture

I hope they didnt buy those ships with adjustable-rate loans



orangegeek's picture

Vertical integration - many have tried and usually fuck it up - not all do.


Keep in mind too that one of the largest logistics and insurance companies in the world is Wal-mart.


And you thought they were retailers.

King Tut's picture
King Tut (not verified) Jan 28, 2017 2:58 PM

Fueled by ZIRP and NASDAQ 5500

BapZander's picture

Never EVER buy ANYTHING from Amazon. If you have to ask why...

one (((ring))) to rule them all
one (((ring))) to find them
one (((ring))) to rule them all
and in the darkness bind them 

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) BapZander Jan 28, 2017 3:00 PM

And Amazon is NOT cheap, its just a search engine.

My husband saved $50 on something by going straight to the maker, cutting out Amazon and Best Buy.

ghengis86's picture

I've noticed this too. Amazon hasn't been as competitive on price as it used to be. The only thing that you have to be careful about is the shipping. More and more retailers are going to "free shipping if you spend $XX", so even that advantage is narrowing. Plus ship to store.

I try to buy local more and more though. Keep the cash in my community.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) ghengis86 Jan 28, 2017 4:52 PM

I bought a high end dog bed from the manufacturer and got free shipping and it didn't take weeks riding around on the truck. Fuck UPS too, the post office is now better.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

Amazon is starting to charge sales tax in Vermont (Feb 1), even though they have no physical presence in the state.

Never thought that would happen, but I underestimated how hungry VT is for revenue (they are flat broke and have a 30% dependence on Fed funds in the general budget!)

Not that it's a big deal, but when you have to drive a 100 mile round trip to find a store with maybe something you are looking for, after a while it really adds up.

When there is no choice, people will make one happen.

Go EBay!


ConnectingTheDots's picture

Buying LOCAL as much as possible is what we all need to be doing.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

That is rather vague. Your comment would have more weight sith specifics. My experience has largely been that you pay more dealing direct, at least with single quantity consumer goods.


BapZander's picture

Actually the third line is incorrect - its one ring to BRING them all

make of it as you will

chosen's picture

Amazon will start building its own factories (Note to Bezos: they have to be in the US, you asshole) and thus avoid all oceanic shipping costs.

ipsprez's picture

At least they can be "accidently" sunk without loss of human life