amazon shipping container The Rise of Amazon’s Shipping Container Strategy

amazon shipping container

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amazon shipping container

In recent years, Amazon has revolutionized the shipping industry by implementing its own innovative strategies to overcome supply chain challenges. One of the key components of its success lies in the production of its own shipping containers. By taking control of this crucial element in the logistics process, Amazon has been able to bypass major bottlenecks and ensure faster delivery times for its customers. In this article, we will explore Amazon’s long-term shipping container strategy and how it has contributed to the company’s dominance in the e-commerce space.

The Evolution of Amazon’s Shipping Container Strategy

Amazon’s foray into the shipping container industry began in 2018 when the company started manufacturing its own 53-foot containers in China. These containers, adorned with Amazon’s iconic arrow logo, have become a symbol of the company’s commitment to streamlining its supply chain operations. Initially, Amazon Logistics shipped over 5,300 containers from Beijing to ports in California and Washington state. Today, the company ships over 10,000 of its own containers per month, solidifying its position as one of the top transportation companies in the Trans Pacific region.

Advantages of Amazon’s Shipping Container Ownership

The ownership of shipping containers has granted Amazon several advantages in terms of flexibility and cost-efficiency. Firstly, it allows the company to have greater control over its goods’ destinations and avoid congested ports. Instead of relying on crowded ports like those in the Los Angeles area, Amazon can divert its cargo to less congested ports, such as those in Washington state. This strategic decision enables Amazon to significantly reduce waiting times for unloading products and expedite the delivery process to its warehouses.

Moreover, Amazon’s container ownership extends beyond the initial delivery stage. Typically, shipping containers are owned by third-party companies and need to be returned to their country of origin, often China. However, by manufacturing its own containers, Amazon can keep them within the domestic transportation system. This means that these containers can be repurposed for other shipments, such as being transported by trains or other ships, without the need for costly and time-consuming return trips.

The Role of Supply Chain Visibility and Planning Software

To effectively manage its complex supply chain networks, Amazon leverages advanced supply chain visibility and planning software. These tools provide transparency and real-time tracking capabilities, enabling Amazon to monitor its products’ journey from suppliers and manufacturers to end-users. With this level of visibility, Amazon can optimize its demand planning, inventory planning, replenishment planning, and order planning processes.

Supply chain planning software plays a crucial role in meeting Amazon Prime members’ expectations of fast delivery times. With many items eligible for 24-hour or even same-day delivery, Amazon must restock its inventory within equally tight timeframes. By utilizing supply chain planning software, Amazon can accurately forecast demand, manage inventory levels, and ensure a seamless replenishment process, ultimately meeting customer expectations.

Amazon’s Shipping Container Strategy in the Face of Supply Chain Disruptions

While Amazon’s shipping container strategy has undoubtedly brought significant benefits, it is not immune to the supply chain disruptions that have affected the industry as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has caused delays, increased transportation costs, and created shortages of shipping containers. As a result, Amazon has faced challenges in maintaining sufficient stock levels and has experienced a rise in out-of-stock items, leading to increased prices for consumers.

To mitigate these challenges, Amazon has continued to invest heavily in its transportation capabilities. The company has chartered its own cargo ships and planes, allowing it to bypass congested ports and ensure a reliable supply chain. By strategically choosing smaller ports and leveraging its transportation network, Amazon can maintain a more resilient and efficient shipping process.

The Impact of Amazon’s Shipping Container Strategy on the Industry

Amazon’s success in the realm of shipping containers has not gone unnoticed by other major retailers. Companies like Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, Ikea, and Target have followed in Amazon’s footsteps by chartering their own cargo ships and exploring alternative shipping methods. This trend reflects the growing recognition of the importance of supply chain optimization and the need to have greater control over the transportation of goods.

The increased demand for supply chain solutions, including supply chain visibility software, has been evident in the market. The rise in supply chain visibility products and web traffic to this category on platforms like G2 showcases the industry’s growing interest in enhancing visibility and transparency throughout the supply chain.


Amazon’s shipping container strategy has been instrumental in its ability to navigate complex supply chain challenges and maintain its position as a leader in the e-commerce space. By producing its own shipping containers, Amazon has gained greater control over its logistics operations, allowing for more efficient and cost-effective transportation of goods. Additionally, the company’s utilization of supply chain visibility and planning software has further enhanced its ability to meet customer demands and optimize its supply chain processes. As the industry continues to evolve, Amazon’s innovative approach serves as a testament to the importance of strategic supply chain management in the increasingly competitive world of e-commerce. amazon shipping container