Amazon’s delivery network is set to explode as the company moves toward one-day shipping — and workers are bracing for big changes

  • Amazon delivery drivers are bracing for big changes as the company moves to cut its Prime two-day shipping promise to one day.
  • “I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” a Richmond, Virginia-based driver said Wednesday. “It’s going to be hectic.”
  • Another driver said she was excited about the change: “I just see job security! More packages, more work. I’m OK with that.”
  • To support faster shipping speeds, Amazon plans to hire hundreds more delivery service partners, which hire and manage teams of drivers, and build dozens of new delivery stations, the company told Business Insider.
  • Amazon is also hiring thousands of new drivers that it will manage directly. The company posted job listings in April for delivery drivers in roughly 50 US cities.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon delivery drivers are bracing for big changes following the company’s announcement that it would cut its two-day Prime shipping promise to one day.

Some drivers – particularly Amazon Flex drivers who make their own hours – are looking forward to the potential for more work.

“I just see job security!” said Jessica Ferryman, an Amazon Flex driver based in Chandler, Arizona. “More packages, more work. I’m OK with that.”

Other drivers said they were worried that they would be forced to deliver more packages in a shorter period of time.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” a Richmond, Virginia-based driver said Wednesday after hauling a large Amazon-branded box from a rental van to the front porch of a home.

“It’s going to be hectic,” he said, shaking his head. Unlike part-time Flex drivers, he works full time delivering upward of 250 Amazon packages daily for a third-party courier company. The driver asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Read more: Amazon is delivering packages out of ‘carnival’ tents in a mad race to catch up to UPS and FedEx

Amazon delivers millions of packages to customers each day using FedEx, UPS, the US Postal Service, Amazon Flex, and third-party couriers that Amazon calls delivery service partners, which manage teams of drivers.

To support faster shipping speeds, Amazon plans to rapidly expand its last-mile logistics system, hire hundreds more DSPs, and build dozens of new delivery stations, the company told Business Insider. Amazon plans to invest $800 million in the ramp-up of one-day shipping just within the second quarter.

“We’ve always made sure that our partners – from our transportation partners to product vendors to the companies that supply our shipping boxes – benefit from the growth of Amazon and our customers’ continued loyalty,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.

“One-day shipping will be the same – we are excited to add hundreds more new small businesses at both existing stations as well as dozens of new delivery stations in the coming months, and we’ll add more opportunities for independent contractors to be their own boss and create their own schedules delivering with Amazon Flex.”

Amazon now has more than 100 delivery stations in the US, which house packages until their final journey to customers’ homes and businesses.

As the company races to expand to new cities, it has erected giant tents to serve as delivery stations in areas where it hasn’t yet secured permanent buildings.

An Amazon delivery station in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

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An Amazon delivery station in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
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KARK

Amazon will most likely need to add another 250 to 300 delivery stations to support one-day delivery in markets that have a population of at least 100,000 people, according to Marc Wulfraat, the president of the logistics consulting firm MWPVL International, which tracks Amazon’s delivery network.

He said he expected to see many more tent stations, which Amazon calls modular delivery stations, popping up across the US in the coming months. The tents take only weeks to build, enabling Amazon to rapidly mobilize in new cities.

Amazon is hiring drivers in 50 cities as it focuses on one-day shipping

As Amazon ramps up its shipping speeds, the company is adding thousands more full-time drivers.

In April, Amazon posted job listings for delivery drivers in roughly 50 US cities. The listings are for drivers who would be managed and employed directly by Amazon.

Amazon first began directly employing full-time drivers last fall, after a major push to expand its network of delivery service partners.

Read more: Forget one-day shipping: same-day is the ‘real battleground’ where Amazon, Walmart, and Target, are sparring

Amazon will be adding many more drivers this year as well, through the expansion of its network of delivery service partners, which hire and manage teams of drivers. Amazon has hired more than 100 delivery service partners since last summer, and it plans to add hundreds more.

The hiring of new drivers could be a positive sign for Amazon’s existing ranks of full-time drivers as the company speeds up its shipping timetables.

A rental truck filled with Amazon packages.

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A rental truck filled with Amazon packages.
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Hayley Peterson/Business Insider

In interviews with Business Insider last year, drivers who delivered packages for Amazon DSPs described an intense working environment in which they said they felt pressured to drive at high speeds, blow stop signs, and urinate in bottles on their trucks to meet strict time constraints for deliveries.

Shifting to one-day shipping could put added pressure on some of these drivers to deliver faster or work longer hours, according to MWPVL International’s Wulfraat.

“The tighter you squeeze the window of time you can make a delivery – so going from 48 hours to 24 hours – the less opportunity you have to optimize the time and activities of the driver,” he said.

Less optimal routes may require drivers to travel longer distances between stops or stop more often because fewer packages are bundled together.

Read more: Missing wages, grueling shifts, and bottles of urine: The disturbing accounts of Amazon delivery drivers may reveal the true human cost of ‘free’ shipping

Possibly further complicating matters, Amazon could see a sales boost – and therefore higher package volumes – as a result of the promise for faster shipping.

“The faster you ship, the more people buy,” the RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a recent research note. “This could be a key growth catalyst for Amazon for some time.”

Amazon should be able to maintain package delivery rates without putting added pressure on existing drivers if it spreads packages among more full-time drivers or uses more Flex drivers, Wulfraat said.

For now, it remains to be seen how the shift to one-day shipping will affect Amazon’s delivery drivers. But we know one thing for certain: Amazon’s last-mile delivery system is about to get a lot bigger.

If you work for Amazon and have a story to share, email hpeterson@businessinsider.com.