Exclusive: Amazon stops receiving non-essential products from sellers amid coronavirus outbreak

By Krystal Hu

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc  is suspending sellers from sending non-essential products to its U.S. and U.K. warehouses until April 5 in the latest move to free up inventory space for much-needed supplies that are in shortage as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a note sent to sellers on Tuesday, Amazon said it is seeing increasing online shopping demand from consumers. As its household staples and medical supplies are running out of stock, it will prioritize certain categories in order to “quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.”

Amazon defined five categories as essential products that can continue shipping, including Baby Product, Health & Household, Beauty & Personal Care, Grocery, Industrial & Scientific, Pet Supplies.

The move follows Amazon’s announcement it will hire 100,000 workers for its warehouses on Monday, as the Seattle-based giant is trying to meet growing online shopping need from people who stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Third-party sellers account for over half of the sales on Amazon. Amazon has been courting sellers to use its own fulfillment system, enabling many of them with faster delivery without the risks of sitting on inventories.

It is especially popular for sellers who use a dropping shipping method, meaning sellers import products from manufacturers in countries including China and directly send them to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon earns fees from managing the storage and delivery process.

Sellers supplying products that are deemed non-essential could see their products run out of stock and they will be unable to restock as a result of the measure. Still, they can use other fulfillment methods to directly mail products to customers.

Amazon did not immediately replied to request for comment.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Trump panel wants to give USPS right to hike prices for Amazon, others

FILE PHOTO - A view shows U.S. postal service mail boxes at a post office in Encinitas, California in this February 6, 2013, file photo. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files

By Diane Bartz and Jeffrey Dastin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Postal Service should have more flexibility to raise rates for packages, according to recommendations from a task force set up by President Donald Trump, a move that could hurt profits of Amazon.com Inc and other large online retailers.

The task force was announced in April to find ways to stem financial losses by the service, an independent agency within the federal government. Its creation followed criticism by Trump that the Postal Office provided too much service to Amazon for too little money.

The Postal Service lost almost $4 billion in fiscal 2018, which ended on Sept. 30, even as package deliveries rose.

It has been losing money for more than a decade, the task force said, partially because the loss of revenue from letters, bills and other ordinary mail in an increasingly digital economy have not been offset by increased revenue from an explosion in deliveries from online shopping.

The president has repeatedly attacked Amazon for treating the Postal Service as its “delivery boy” by paying less than it should for deliveries and contributing to the service’s $65 billion loss since the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, without presenting evidence.

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper whose critical coverage of the president has repeatedly drawn Trump’s ire.

The rates the Postal Service charges Amazon and other bulk customers are not made public.

“None of our findings or recommendations relate to any one company,” a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Amazon shares closed down 5.8 percent at $1,669.94, while eBay fell 3.1 percent to $29.26, amid a broad stock market selloff on Tuesday.

The Package Coalition, which includes Amazon and other online and catalog shippers, warned against any move to raise prices to deliver their packages.

“The Package Coalition is concerned that, by raising prices and depriving Americans of affordable delivery services, the Postal Task Force’s package delivery recommendations would harm consumers, large and small businesses, and especially rural communities,” the group said in an emailed statement.

Most of the recommendations made by the task force, including possible price hikes, can be implemented by the agency. Changes, such as to the frequency of mail delivery, would require legislation.

The task force recommended that the Postal Service have the authority to charge market-based rates for anything that is not deemed an essential service, like delivery of prescription drugs.


“Although the USPS does have pricing flexibility within its package delivery segment, packages have not been priced with profitability in mind. The USPS should have the authority to charge market-based prices for both mail and package items that are not deemed ‘essential services,'” the task force said in its summary.

That would be bad news for Amazon and other online sellers that ship billions of packages a year to customers.

“If they go to market pricing, there will definitely be a negative impact on Amazon’s business,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of logistics consultancy MWPVL International Inc.

If prices jumped 10 percent, that would increase annual costs for Amazon by at least $1 billion, he said.

The task force also recommended that the Postal Service address rising labor costs.

The Postal Service should also restructure $43 billion in pre-funding payments that it owes the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, the task force said.

Cowen & Co, in a May report, said the Postal Service and Amazon were “co-dependent,” but that Amazon went elsewhere for most packages that needed to arrive quickly.

Cowen estimated that the Postal Service delivered about 59 percent of Amazon’s U.S. packages in 2017, and package delivery could account for 50 percent of postal service revenue by 2023.

The American Postal Workers Union warned against any effort to cut services. “Recommendations would slow down service, reduce delivery days and privatize large portions of the public Postal Service. Most of the report’s recommendations, if implemented, would hurt business and individuals alike,” the union said in a statement.

Amazon, FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc did not return requests for comment.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Jeffrey Dastin; editing by Bill Berkrot)

Kick ‘em Jenny Putting Ships at Risk

An underwater volcano off the Granada coast is causing a threat to the shipping industry for the island.

Kick ‘em Jenny is off the country’s northern coast.  The threat level of the volcano currently sits at yellow after spending the weekend at the higher orange level.  The yellow threat level means that an eruption of the underwater volcano is possible and that ships should avoid the area of the volcano by a minimum of 1.5 kilometers.

The volcano, despite being 600 feet below the ocean surface, is a threat because a burst of gasses from the volcano could instantly sink a ship in the waters above.  The process, called “degassing”, would make ships suddenly lose their buoyancy and sink.

Plus, hot rocks can shoot out of the water like missiles and endanger other ships in the region.  It could also cause a tsunami depending on the strength of the eruption.

The volcano has erupted a dozen times since being discovered in 1939.  The last major eruption was in 2001.  The volcano is blamed for Grenada’s worst maritime disaster when 60 people died after a ship went right into the ocean over the volcano.

The volcano has been causing hundreds of small earthquakes over the last few weeks.  At one point on Thursday, over 150 quakes were recorded in four-hour period around the volcano.

Growing Pains

Dear Friends and Partners,

God has truly blessed this ministry in the last few months! Morningside and the Jim Bakker show are experiencing extreme growth at an incredible rate. Due to this rapid growth, we have moved and enlarged our shipping department. We have also been experiencing a glitch in our computer systems and we simply have not been able to keep up with our shipping orders which has caused us to fall behind.

We have been restructuring and our staff and volunteers are working day and night to complete these orders. A thousand packages a day are being shipped out of our facility here at Morningside. We wanted to take a moment to reassure you that if you are waiting for something you have ordered, you have not been forgotten!

We truly apologize for the delay in getting your love gifts to you and we cannot thank you enough for your understanding, support and patience. Your faith in what God is doing here at Morningside is the reason for our growth. Please know that all of us will continue to work harder than ever before to keep your faith and trust in us alive!

If you would like to help us meet the new demands here at Morningside please contact us to become one of our amazing volunteers! Our volunteers keep us going and are one of the most important assets to this ministry! Your help is needed, appreciated and prayed for! We would love to work side by side with you as we watch fulfilled prophecy in these exciting yet dangerous times.

We are also accepting applications for several employment opportunities, especially in the shipping department! If you have computer knowledge and experience on a shipping line or have a desire to learn please fill out an application online or you can send us your resume.

Please keep all of us here at Morningside Ministries and the Jim Bakker Show in your prayers as we face these blessed new challenges! We love you and agree with you for your prayer needs today!
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P.S. John Shorey will be here Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 LIVE in our studio with more shocking and amazing last days information!