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Amazon looks likely to enter ocean shipping space

Amazon, the giant American online retailer, is moving into ocean shipping.

Having made inroads of late into trucking and air freight, the company’s China affiliate has just registered with the US Federal Maritime Commission to become a licenced ocean freight forwarder, a move that could have giant ramifications for containerlines. The new licence allows Amazon to buy and sell space on vessels.

At present, Amazon’s ocean shipping requirements are approximately one tenth of WalMart’s, but are growing fast.

The company is buying up logistics firms, trucks and air freight infrastructure in Europe and the US at the moment with a view to cutting its own logistics costs, which are believed to cost Amazon around $1bn a month.

Amazon has declined to comment on the development.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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