Walmart is escalating its war of words with Amazon by sending veiled messages to the trucking companies that haul its merchandise from its distribution centers and stores, telling them if they do business with the Web giant it may not want to work with them, according to an industry expert.
“I know that Walmart has expressed its views to truckload carriers,” transportation consultant Satish Jindel told The Post.
“Walmart would prefer to do business with carriers that are not doing business with Amazon” and are not “conflicted,” because it’s concerned about their ability to handle high volumes of deliveries during peak times, Jindel says.
Walmart began having these conversations with carriers over the past 30 days or so, according to Jindel, who talked directly with those carriers and who also spoke at a logistics conference this week about the issue.
His comments were picked up by Deutsche Bank analyst Amit Mehrotra, who wrote a note about it, and by DC Velocity, a trade publication covering logistics.
“These developments, if true, are likely to have significant implications for US transportation companies as Amazon and Walmart remain two of the largest users of truckload capacity,” Mehrotra wrote.
The trucking squeeze comes on the heels of reports that Walmart has asked technology companies with which it works to stop using Amazon Web Services for the retailer’s cloud-computing services — or face losing Walmart’s business.
The Arkansas-based behemoth wants the tech companies to use services like Microsoft’s Azure instead, and it conceded as much publicly.
Walmart told the Wall Street Journal last week, “It shouldn’t be a big surprise that there are cases in which we’d prefer our most sensitive data isn’t sitting on a competitor’s platform.”
But a Walmart spokesman denied that the company has had discussions with trucking companies about high-peak delivery times or about Amazon, adding that “it would be illegal for us to tell them who they can do business with.”
The two retailers are going head-to-head for consumers’ business in every area of retail, and Amazon’s announcement this month on acquiring Whole Foods Market was among the sharpest blows to Walmart, which counts on groceries for half of its revenue.One logistics executive said it makes sense that Walmart would be planning for the holiday crush now.
“I’d think that Walmart would want to be more proactive now, asking companies how they are going to deal with this holiday period,” said Steve Howard, CEO of Esquire Logistics, which makes last-mile deliveries in Florida. “None of us can risk the failures we’ve encountered in the past.”