Amazon Freight:

FAQs and a Better Alternative


Sam Boyd

May 7, 2024

Join the community!

Amazon Freight:

FAQs and a Better Alternative


Sam Boyd
May 7, 2024



Join the community!

If you’re a business owner who ships products, you’re probably wondering if Amazon Freight is a good freight solution for your needs. Well, you’re about to find out.

Given Amazon is a leading global brand with market dominance across e-commerce and web services, there’s a lot to be excited about this disruptive company entering the trucking space. Yet, as the new player on the block, one must understand what Amazon freight can and can’t do, at least for now.

Is Amazon the best truck freight solution? Or are there better alternatives to Amazon Freight?

We know readers still have a lot of questions. We get them all the time. And that’s what this article is all about

Here are just a few of the questions we get asked about Amazon Freight pretty often...

…Is Amazon freight a trucking and logistics service for shipping products exclusively to Amazon FBA warehouses?

…Do they ship elsewhere?

…Does Amazon Freight offer both FTL and LTL shipments?

…What types of trailers are available from Amazon Freight?

…Do they cover all shipment types, like Hazmat, Refrigerated, Military/Government, and Oversized Cargo?

…What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Amazon Freight?

…How do current customers feel about Amazon Freight?

…And when might another type of freight forwarding company be the best option?

Let’s face it, people still have lots of questions about Amazon Freight And in this article, we’ve done our very best to answer them. 

So let’s dive in.

What is Amazon Freight?

Launched in 2019, Amazon Freight is an integrated service platform offering FTL (full-truckload) shipping solutions exclusively in 53’ dry van trailers throughout much of the continental United States. (They also offer services in parts of Europe, but that’s outside the scope of this article.)

Amazon Freight has a network of over 50,000 trailers, both company-owned and in partnership with a network of partner carriers, all easily booked and tracked through their proprietary online platform. They claim to be a game-changing solution in the truck freight space and specifically, they pride themselves on users being able to schedule, book, track, and manage all their shipping documents online in one place.

To use the service, customers must create a shipper account on their online platform, and after that, they’ll be able to book their first shipment. 

Amazon Freight’s stated goal is to streamline and simplify complex logistics but do they? The jury is still out. We’ll let you decide as you read further about their service, its advantages and limitations, and compare them to other available solutions we’ll discuss.

Where Does Amazon Freight Ship?

Not surprisingly, Amazon Freight ships to any FBA warehouse in the United States. They also service shippers not sending to Amazon, albeit with some limitations.

Amazon Freight exclusively services route lanes in the United States that serve their FBA warehouses. Shippers needing to send goods to other metropolitan, suburban, or rural areas where there isn’t an FBA presence may struggle to make the service work. Almost a third of the continental United States isn’t covered by the Amazon Freight network of carriers, as seen in the map below.

Source: https://freight.amazon.com/rest/coverage

Likewise, Amazon freight only offers domestic shipping services in the United States,  which, means they don’t offer international trucking to Canada or Mexico. 

Does Amazon Freight offer FTL and LTL Shipments?

With almost 5 years since the launching of their service, Amazon Freight still only offers FTL (full truckload) shipments in ‘53 dry van trailers. Unless your shipment fills a 53’ dry van trailer (approximately 26 standardized pallets), you’re better off using another solution. They do not offer LTL shipments through the platform at this time.

What Alternatives Exist for FTL and LTL to Amazon?

In this regard, a company like Guided Freight is a great alternative to Guided Freight, offering greater flexibility, more price options, and the ability to handle a much broader range of unique handling requirements. 

As a leading freight broker, we also offer FTL shipments, but in a much broader range of trailer sizes.  

And unlike Amazon Freight, we also offer LTL (less than truckload) services. This is true whether you need to ship to Amazon FBA or any other destination in North America.

What Types of Trucks and Trailers Does Amazon Freight Offer?

Amazon Freight and its partner carrier network only offer 53’ Dry Van trailers. This is ideal for shipments of approximately 26 standardized pallets. 

For everything else, you’re better off finding another carrier solution with many more types of trucks and trailers, like we offer here at Guided Freight.

Do Amazon Trailers Have Liftgates?

As of now, Amazon Freight does not offer trailers with liftgates. While this might sound like a minor inconvenience to a newbie, an experienced shipper knows this creates a host of risks, costs, and challenges for a lot of business owners.

At Guided Freight, we can simplify the handling requirements for our customers by offering liftgate trailers in an almost endless array of sizes and configurations. Here are just a few of the benefits this technology offers:

  • More Efficient Loading and Unloading: A liftgate allows for easier and more efficient loading. This can save time and labor costs by eliminating the need for manual lifting or the use of additional equipment like forklifts.
  • More Versatility: Liftgates can accommodate a wide range of cargo types and sizes, making them suitable for various industries and applications. They can handle palletized goods, large equipment, and other items that require specialized handling.
  • Improved Safety: Using a liftgate reduces the risk of injuries to workers associated with manual lifting and loading activities. It minimizes the need for heavy lifting and awkward movements, thereby promoting a safer working environment.
  • Increased Accessibility: Liftgates provide greater accessibility to loading docks, delivery locations, and vehicles with uneven or elevated surfaces. This makes it easier to transport goods to and from locations where traditional loading methods may be impractical or challenging.
  • Space Optimization: Liftgates can help maximize the use of available space within trailers or delivery vehicles. By eliminating the need for additional equipment or clearance space for loading ramps, more cargo can be loaded, increasing efficiency and reducing transportation costs.
  • Adaptability: Our liftgate models offer features such as adjustable platforms, foldable ramps, and remote control operation, allowing for greater flexibility and customization to meet specific loading and unloading requirements.
  • Reduced Costs: By limiting the amount of manpower and machinery for loading and unloading of trailers, a liftgate can save customers some serious money too.

Overall, a trailer liftgate offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency, safety, accessibility, and customer service. Liftgates also can greatly reduce handling costs, making them an essential tool in the arsenal of professional freight brokers like Guided Freight. 

It’s frankly a little mind-blowing that Amazon has not made this a priority for their service offering at this time.

Does Amazon offer Specialized Trucking Solutions like Refrigerated, Hazmat, Drayage, etc?

In short, no. At this time, Amazon Freight only offers FTL shipments in 53’ dry van containers. Unlike Guided Freight which specializes in offering the widest array of trucking services on the market, Amazon does NOT offer other popular and high-demand specialized trucking services such as:

Does Amazon Offer Same-Day Pick-up? 

No, Amazon Freight does not currently offer same-day pick-up services. Here at Guided Freight, we do. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Shipping with Amazon Freight?

Every service has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a look at how Amazon Freight stacks up in this regard.

Advantages of Amazon Freight

Below, we’ll review some of the primary advantages Amazon Freight claims to have over other shipping solutions.

  • Integrated Platform: Amazon Freight integrates seamlessly with other Amazon services, such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Seller Central, providing a comprehensive end-to-end logistics solution for sellers on the Amazon platform. But let’s be honest, this isn’t particularly useful to anyone who is not an Amazon seller.
  • Simplified Booking Process: Shippers can book and manage shipments through the Amazon Freight platform, streamlining the logistics process and reducing administrative burden. But you could streamline and minimize these administrative tasks by working with a freight broker like Guided Freight, who would manage all of this on your behalf, saving you time and money.
  • Competitive Pricing: Amazon Freight leverages Amazon's scale and negotiating power to offer highly competitive freight rates per mile, potentially saving shippers money on transportation costs. But beware, customers have warned that special handling requirements are priced exorbitantly, and many useful services like liftgates, which can greatly reduce handling costs, simply aren’t available. In the end, do you save? Well, that will depend on the complexity of your logistic needs.
  • Reliable Service: Shippers can benefit from Amazon's extensive network of carriers and distribution centers, ensuring reliable and timely delivery of their goods. But this is only true for shippers whose route lane is in an area where there’s a strong FBA presence.
  • Visibility and Tracking: Amazon Freight provides real-time tracking and visibility into shipments, allowing shippers to monitor their cargo's progress throughout the transportation process. Although, many of the leading carriers offer the same service as well.
  • Customer Support: Amazon Freight claims to have dedicated customer support to assist shippers with any questions or concerns they may have during the shipping process. And yet, lack of customer support, or at least slow response times, is one of the top complaints from Amazon Freight customers in Amazon Seller forums, leaving us to scratch our heads.

Disadvantages of Amazon Freight

Now, let’s review some of the limitations of Amazon freight, as found on resources around the web.

  • Limited Coverage: Amazon Freight primarily focuses on supporting Amazon's own shipping needs, and may not offer extensive coverage or services in all regions, especially compared to traditional freight brokers or carriers with broader networks. If your shipment falls outside of one of their primary route lanes, you might be entirely out of luck.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Amazon Freight's operations may be optimized for Amazon's specific requirements, which could limit flexibility for other shippers with unique shipping needs or preferences. Their services are limited to only one type of trailer, at one length, and they lack LTL shipping capacity, which many customers, especially smaller businesses and Amazon Sellers highly value. 
  • Service Differentiation: In a highly competitive market, Amazon Freight may struggle to differentiate its services from other freight brokers or carriers, especially in terms of pricing, technology offerings, or customer support. Technology is wonderful, but it isn’t particularly helpful when there are shipment issues and you’re struggling to get customer support. For this reason alone, many customers choose to work with a freight broker, like Guided Freight.
  • Capacity Constraints: During peak seasons or periods of high demand, Amazon Freight's capacity may be constrained, leading to challenges in securing space for shipments and potential delays. While 50,000 trucks sounds like a lot, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 13.5 million commercial trucks registered for operation in the United States.
  • Integration Challenges: While Amazon Freight may offer integration with Amazon's e-commerce platform and fulfillment services, integrating with other systems or platforms used by shippers could be more challenging, especially for smaller businesses or those with complex IT infrastructures.
  • Customer Service: Some customers have reported issues with communication and customer service when dealing with Amazon Freight, particularly in resolving issues or addressing concerns promptly.
  • Market Perception: Due to Amazon's dominance in e-commerce and other industries, some shippers may have concerns about relying too heavily on Amazon Freight, fearing potential conflicts of interest or competitive disadvantages.
  • Regulatory Compliance: As with any logistics provider, Amazon Freight must navigate complex regulatory requirements governing freight transportation, which can vary by region and may pose challenges in ensuring compliance. This probably explains why their service offering is so limited.

Conclusion

While Amazon’s entry into the freight industry may excite a very particular high-volume Amazon Seller who regularly ships 26+ pallets, for everyone else, including small businesses, smaller Amazon sellers, and especially those whose shipments involve complex logistical requirements, their service is lacking.

If you fall into the latter category and are interested in learning more about working with a freight broker, submit a request for a freight quote, we’ve made it quick and easy. And we guarantee, there will be a human, and not AI, on the other end of your request.
Need a Freight Quote to Amazon FBA?

If you’re a business owner who ships products, you’re probably wondering if Amazon's new freight service, "Amazon Freight", is right for your needs. Well, you’re about to find out.

Given Amazon is a leading global brand with market dominance across e-commerce and web services, there’s a lot to be excited about this disruptive company entering the trucking space. Yet, as the new player on the block, one must understand what Amazon freight can and can’t do, at least for now.

Is Amazon the best truck freight solution? Or are there better alternatives to Amazon Freight?

We know readers still have a lot of questions. We get them all the time. And that’s what this article is all about

Here are just a few of the questions we get asked about Amazon Freight pretty often...

…Is Amazon freight a trucking and logistics service for shipping products exclusively to Amazon FBA warehouses?

…Do they ship elsewhere?

…Does Amazon Freight offer both FTL and LTL shipments?

…What types of trailers are available from Amazon Freight?

…Do they cover all shipment types, like Hazmat, Refrigerated, Military/Government, and Oversized Cargo?

…What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Amazon Freight?

…How do current customers feel about Amazon Freight?

…And when might another type of freight forwarding company be the best option?

Let’s face it, people still have lots of questions about Amazon Freight And in this article, we’ve done our very best to answer them. 

So let’s dive in.

What is Amazon Freight?

Launched in 2019, Amazon Freight is an integrated service platform offering FTL (full-truckload) shipping solutions exclusively in 53’ dry van trailers throughout much of the continental United States. (They also offer services in parts of Europe, but that’s outside the scope of this article.)

Amazon Freight has a network of over 50,000 trailers, both company-owned and in partnership with a network of partner carriers, all easily booked and tracked through their proprietary online platform. They claim to be a game-changing solution in the truck freight space and specifically, they pride themselves on users being able to schedule, book, track, and manage all their shipping documents online in one place.

To use the service, customers must create a shipper account on their online platform, and after that, they’ll be able to book their first shipment. 

Amazon Freight’s stated goal is to streamline and simplify complex logistics but do they? The jury is still out. We’ll let you decide as you read further about their service, its advantages and limitations, and compare them to other available solutions we’ll discuss.

Where Does Amazon Freight Ship?

Not surprisingly, Amazon Freight ships to any FBA warehouse in the United States. They also service shippers not sending to Amazon, albeit with some limitations.

Amazon Freight exclusively services route lanes in the United States that serve their FBA warehouses. Shippers needing to send goods to other metropolitan, suburban, or rural areas where there isn’t an FBA presence may struggle to make the service work. Almost a third of the continental United States isn’t covered by the Amazon Freight network of carriers, as seen in the map below.

Source: https://freight.amazon.com/rest/coverage

Likewise, Amazon freight only offers domestic shipping services in the United States,  which, means they don’t offer international trucking to Canada or Mexico. 

Does Amazon Freight offer FTL and LTL Shipments?

With almost 5 years since the launching of their service, Amazon Freight still only offers FTL (full truckload) shipments in ‘53 dry van trailers. Unless your shipment fills a 53’ dry van trailer (approximately 26 standardized pallets), you’re better off using another solution. They do not offer LTL shipments through the platform at this time.

What Alternatives Exist for FTL and LTL to Amazon?

In this regard, a company like Guided Freight is a great alternative to Guided Freight, offering greater flexibility, more price options, and the ability to handle a much broader range of unique handling requirements. 

As a leading freight broker, we also offer FTL shipments, but in a much broader range of trailer sizes.  

And unlike Amazon Freight, we also offer LTL (less than truckload) services. This is true whether you need to ship to Amazon FBA or any other destination in North America.

What Types of Trucks and Trailers Does Amazon Freight Offer?

Amazon Freight and its partner carrier network only offer 53’ Dry Van trailers. This is ideal for shipments of approximately 26 standardized pallets. 

For everything else, you’re better off finding another carrier solution with many more types of trucks and trailers, like we offer here at Guided Freight.

Do Amazon Trailers Have Liftgates?

As of now, Amazon Freight does not offer trailers with liftgates. While this might sound like a minor inconvenience to a newbie, an experienced shipper knows this creates a host of risks, costs, and challenges for a lot of business owners.

At Guided Freight, we can simplify the handling requirements for our customers by offering liftgate trailers in an almost endless array of sizes and configurations. Here are just a few of the benefits this technology offers:

  • More Efficient Loading and Unloading: A liftgate allows for easier and more efficient loading. This can save time and labor costs by eliminating the need for manual lifting or the use of additional equipment like forklifts.
  • More Versatility: Liftgates can accommodate a wide range of cargo types and sizes, making them suitable for various industries and applications. They can handle palletized goods, large equipment, and other items that require specialized handling.
  • Improved Safety: Using a liftgate reduces the risk of injuries to workers associated with manual lifting and loading activities. It minimizes the need for heavy lifting and awkward movements, thereby promoting a safer working environment.
  • Increased Accessibility: Liftgates provide greater accessibility to loading docks, delivery locations, and vehicles with uneven or elevated surfaces. This makes it easier to transport goods to and from locations where traditional loading methods may be impractical or challenging.
  • Space Optimization: Liftgates can help maximize the use of available space within trailers or delivery vehicles. By eliminating the need for additional equipment or clearance space for loading ramps, more cargo can be loaded, increasing efficiency and reducing transportation costs.
  • Adaptability: Our liftgate models offer features such as adjustable platforms, foldable ramps, and remote control operation, allowing for greater flexibility and customization to meet specific loading and unloading requirements.
  • Reduced Costs: By limiting the amount of manpower and machinery for loading and unloading of trailers, a liftgate can save customers some serious money too.

Overall, a trailer liftgate offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency, safety, accessibility, and customer service. Liftgates also can greatly reduce handling costs, making them an essential tool in the arsenal of professional freight brokers like Guided Freight. 

It’s frankly a little mind-blowing that Amazon has not made this a priority for their service offering at this time.

Does Amazon offer Specialized Trucking Solutions like Refrigerated, Hazmat, Drayage, etc?

In short, no. At this time, Amazon Freight only offers FTL shipments in 53’ dry van containers. Unlike Guided Freight which specializes in offering the widest array of trucking services on the market, Amazon does NOT offer other popular and high-demand specialized trucking services such as:

Does Amazon Offer Same-Day Pick-up? 

No, Amazon Freight does not currently offer same-day pick-up services. Here at Guided Freight, we do. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Shipping with Amazon Freight?

Every service has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a look at how Amazon Freight stacks up in this regard.

Advantages of Amazon Freight

Below, we’ll review some of the primary advantages Amazon Freight claims to have over other shipping solutions.

  • Integrated Platform: Amazon Freight integrates seamlessly with other Amazon services, such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Seller Central, providing a comprehensive end-to-end logistics solution for sellers on the Amazon platform. But let’s be honest, this isn’t particularly useful to anyone who is not an Amazon seller.
  • Simplified Booking Process: Shippers can book and manage shipments through the Amazon Freight platform, streamlining the logistics process and reducing administrative burden. But you could streamline and minimize these administrative tasks by working with a freight broker like Guided Freight, who would manage all of this on your behalf, saving you time and money.
  • Competitive Pricing: Amazon Freight leverages Amazon's scale and negotiating power to offer highly competitive freight rates per mile, potentially saving shippers money on transportation costs. But beware, customers have warned that special handling requirements are priced exorbitantly, and many useful services like liftgates, which can greatly reduce handling costs, simply aren’t available. In the end, do you save? Well, that will depend on the complexity of your logistic needs.
  • Reliable Service: Shippers can benefit from Amazon's extensive network of carriers and distribution centers, ensuring reliable and timely delivery of their goods. But this is only true for shippers whose route lane is in an area where there’s a strong FBA presence.
  • Visibility and Tracking: Amazon Freight provides real-time tracking and visibility into shipments, allowing shippers to monitor their cargo's progress throughout the transportation process. Although, many of the leading carriers offer the same service as well.
  • Customer Support: Amazon Freight claims to have dedicated customer support to assist shippers with any questions or concerns they may have during the shipping process. And yet, lack of customer support, or at least slow response times, is one of the top complaints from Amazon Freight customers in Amazon Seller forums, leaving us to scratch our heads.

Disadvantages of Amazon Freight

Now, let’s review some of the limitations of Amazon freight, as found on resources around the web.

  • Limited Coverage: Amazon Freight primarily focuses on supporting Amazon's own shipping needs, and may not offer extensive coverage or services in all regions, especially compared to traditional freight brokers or carriers with broader networks. If your shipment falls outside of one of their primary route lanes, you might be entirely out of luck.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Amazon Freight's operations may be optimized for Amazon's specific requirements, which could limit flexibility for other shippers with unique shipping needs or preferences. Their services are limited to only one type of trailer, at one length, and they lack LTL shipping capacity, which many customers, especially smaller businesses and Amazon Sellers highly value. 
  • Service Differentiation: In a highly competitive market, Amazon Freight may struggle to differentiate its services from other freight brokers or carriers, especially in terms of pricing, technology offerings, or customer support. Technology is wonderful, but it isn’t particularly helpful when there are shipment issues and you’re struggling to get customer support. For this reason alone, many customers choose to work with a freight broker, like Guided Freight.
  • Capacity Constraints: During peak seasons or periods of high demand, Amazon Freight's capacity may be constrained, leading to challenges in securing space for shipments and potential delays. While 50,000 trucks sounds like a lot, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 13.5 million commercial trucks registered for operation in the United States.
  • Integration Challenges: While Amazon Freight may offer integration with Amazon's e-commerce platform and fulfillment services, integrating with other systems or platforms used by shippers could be more challenging, especially for smaller businesses or those with complex IT infrastructures.
  • Customer Service: Some customers have reported issues with communication and customer service when dealing with Amazon Freight, particularly in resolving issues or addressing concerns promptly.
  • Market Perception: Due to Amazon's dominance in e-commerce and other industries, some shippers may have concerns about relying too heavily on Amazon Freight, fearing potential conflicts of interest or competitive disadvantages.
  • Regulatory Compliance: As with any logistics provider, Amazon Freight must navigate complex regulatory requirements governing freight transportation, which can vary by region and may pose challenges in ensuring compliance. This probably explains why their service offering is so limited.

Conclusion

While Amazon’s entry into the freight industry may excite a very particular high-volume Amazon Seller who regularly ships 26+ pallets, for everyone else, including small businesses, smaller Amazon sellers, and especially those whose shipments involve complex logistical requirements, their service is lacking.

If you fall into the latter category and are interested in learning more about working with a freight broker, submit a request for a freight quote, we’ve made it quick and easy. And we guarantee, there will be a human, and not AI, on the other end of your request.

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