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April 9, 2020 1:15 PM, EDT

Amazon to Suspend Test Service for Outside Deliveries

Amazon Romulus, MIAmazon fulfillment center in Romulus, Mich., by Paul Sancya/AP

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Amazon.com Inc. is suspending a pilot program that was geared toward delivering packages for third-party vendors that sell goods on its website but that do not ship through one of its fulfillment centers.

The program, called Amazon Shipping, will be suspended beginning June 5. The company confirmed the news to Transport Topics on April 8.

The e-commerce and technology giant will re-evaluate the program,which was launched in 2018 as an alternative for these sellers, who might typically rely on FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. While the pilot was implemented in both the United States and United Kingdom, only the U.S. service will be suspended.

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Amazon Shipping was geared toward vendors who have warehouses in select cities. Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were among the few cities that offered the program,.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the planned suspension April 7.

“We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly,” Amazon said in a note to shippers, which was obtained by the WSJ. “We will work with you over the next several weeks so there is as little disruption to your business as possible.”

Amazon did not indicate if the pilot would be restarted. The company is suspending the program because it needs to shift to handling a surge in its own orders, according to the WSJ account.

Amazon had pushed the test service by offering shippers simpler rates and the elimination of many fees and surcharges other carriers included, the WSJ report said.

Transport Topics independently confirmed plans for the closure. Amazon told TT that it regularly looks at a variety of factors across the company to ensure the best service for customers.

The company said March 16 that it plans to hire an additional 100,000 warehouse employees because of heightened demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. It also plans to raise hourly pay by $2 an hour through April.

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