Amazon Adds 5% Fuel, Inflation Surcharge for Sellers

Amazon Adds 5% Fuel, Inflation Surcharge for Sellers Inc. signage is displayed in front of a warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.] Inc. will charge businesses that sell products on its website a 5% fuel and inflation fee beginning April 28, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, a first for the company.

The new surcharge, the latest sign of companies grappling with rising costs, will apply to U.S. sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, a service in which Amazon stows, packs and ships products on behalf of independent merchants. Amazon intends to notify sellers about the fee April 13, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

Inflation has skyrocketed in recent months, and gasoline prices have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine. Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. each added fuel surcharges last month to offset the added costs.

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In the email to be sent to Amazon sellers, the company said it has made big investments since the start of the pandemic to meet surging demand. Those include doubling capacity, adding 750,000 employees and raising the average Amazon warehouse employee wage to $18 from $15.

“Like many, we have experienced significant cost increases and absorbed them, wherever possible, to reduce the impact on our selling partners,” Amazon says, according to the email. “In 2022, we expected a return to normalcy as COVID-19 restrictions around the world eased, but fuel and inflation have presented further challenges. It is still unclear if these inflationary costs will go up or down, or for how long they will persist.”

For Amazon, the marketplace business represents nearly a quarter of sales. The company had seller services revenue of $30.3 billion in the quarter that ended in December. Inc. ranks No. 22 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.