Amazon on the seas

This article is part of the On Tech Newsletter. Here is a collection. Past columns.

In the Pacific, meme shipping containers filled with dehumidifiers offer a glimpse of how epidemics and Amazon are transmitting purchases as we know it.

Earlier this year, a company called Aterian was in a jam with its Home Labs brand dehumidifiers. You may have read about how difficult and expensive it has become to move goods around the world, and Ethereum was feeling the pain.

Michael Chaoutfix, Ethereum’s chief product officer, told me that the company was being offered $ 25,000 or more to deliver a container of products from Chinese factories to its buyers in the United States. Amazon then approached and offered to put the dehumidifiers on the cargo ships it had chartered in the Pacific for significantly lower fees.

“It was a great relief,” said Chaouat-Fix. Amazon brought the goods to port, and Ethereum arranged for them to be shipped to their US warehouses. The dehumidifiers were then available for purchase on Amazon as well as Walmart, eBay and homeLabs websites.

I have close tabs on Amazon, but I didn’t know it until Ethereum told me that the company rents cargo ships for some merchants who sell their digital goods. Amazon’s shipping service is nothing new, but it has become more relevant because of the global shipping disaster this year. Amazon has also added new options that the company told me it was a relatively small service available to a few merchants.

Amazon’s adventures on the high seas are an interesting twist in the battle to bring products to our doorsteps. This is another example of Amazon’s growing network of warehouses, package hubs, trucks, airplanes and delivery vans, showing that the company is becoming a force in the entire product lifecycle, from factories to our homes. Is.

Ethereum told its investors this week that Amazon’s shipping service has helped it achieve “very competitive shipping rates” for products that will halve its expected sales next year. (Aterian’s most popular product, Squatty Potty, made in the USA, no cargo ship required.)

Merchants such as Amazon and Aterian have a common goal: to make sure we have enough products on the virtual shelf to buy. Amazon has the money and the burden to divert maritime cargo companies so that its merchants can ship their products at cheaper rates.

The shipping service is one of the many options that Amazon offers to millions of merchants – whether it’s a small toy company in Texas or an anchor Chinese electronics company – that sells products to its buyers. For an additional fee, they can store their inventory in Amazon’s warehouses, send their products through its delivery network, and pay Amazon for more prominent online displays.

Traders often find these options useful, but sometimes they are also frustrating because of the costs and the feeling that they sometimes rely too much on an unusual business partner. Ethereum’s chief executive, Yanio Sarg, was pragmatic about the power of Amazon and other major gateways for consumers. “It’s a fact of our world,” he told me.

It will be interesting to see what happens next with Amazon’s maritime freight ambitions. At one point it seemed ridiculous to imagine that Amazon would be in the same league as FedEx, one of the largest package shipping companies in the United States. This is the time.

This is a superpower for the fast-growing Amazon logistics machine company, and detecting shipping from Asian factories is a logical next step. Some close observers at Sarg and Amazon have said they wonder what the company could do next, such as launching its own US commercial port or shipping fleet. (Amazon didn’t want to talk to me about this speculation.)

The corona virus epidemic and the global product snarls that have helped it (hopefully!) Will be temporary. But it could be a moment that will permanently change purchases and shipping.


Join us for a virtual event on November 18th to talk about the secrets of productive and healthy online communities. Read it To learn more about the event and save your place.


  • The Chinese government silenced the shopping party Singles Day, the annual shopping holiday invented by Chinese e-commerce Titan Alibaba, is generally a wild waste of consumerism. My colleague Ray Zhong writes that the government’s crackdown on major Internet companies has led to a quiet single day aimed at using “caution”.

  • She is passionate about computer chips: Farhad Manju, a columnist for the New York Times Opinion, explains why Apple’s self-made computer chips have supercharged their laptops and a significant breakthrough in technology.

  • Government digital payments that don’t stink: Togo, one of the poorest countries in the world, has managed to provide emergency benefits to its citizens through epidemic diseases, and has been able to make money instantly available to people through their mobile phones. Bloomberg News reveals how Togo launched a digital payment system in less than two weeks. (Subscription may be required.)

The Empire State Building is on TikTok, and its account is surprisingly bad. The building mocks Times Square, is terrified of other skyscrapers, and hates lightning.


We’re hoping to find out more about who our on-tech readers are. Please complete this short survey.

If you do not already receive this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up here.. You can also read. Tech column on the past.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *