Yellow Freight System has plunged into the burgeoning business of delivering goods bought and sold over the Internet, much of it involving pickups and deliveries to private homes.
Yellow has signed an agreement with iShip, the multicarrier shipping service that delivers goods purchased through such Internet outlets as eBay, the auction service. Mail Boxes Etc., a shipping and receiving service for small businesses and individuals, is another iShip partner. Yellow Freight, the second largest LTL motor carrier corporation in the U.S., will handle shipments over 150 pounds.
Roger Dick, Yellow's communications manager, said Yellow is the first major LTL carrier to make such a commitment. Projections for future business vary widely. "It could be little, it could be huge," he said. "But the potential is great."
In a Yellow press release, Bill Zollars, president of Yellow's parent company, Yellow Corp., said the market in e-commerce transportation services was "about $500 million today and will be in excess of $1 billion in about four years."
However, much of that business involves pickups from and deliveries to private homes, which traditionally have been problematic for LTL carriers geared toward business-to-business shipments. For example, LTL drivers ride without helpers, which many specialty carriers provide for shippers of furniture, appliances and other large items.
According to Dick, Yellow has "dabbled in"' private house deliveries in recent years, but plans no immediate changes as a result of the agreement with iShip. In fact, in certain areas, some pickups at private homes will be performed by an outside carrier and delivered to the nearest Yellow terminal for further transportation.
Changes to Yellow's traditional LTL operations will depend on future volume, said Dick, who added that Yellow believes individual-to-individual and business-to-individual shipments, which are thriving due to Internet commerce, will grow to include business-to-business shipments in the future. Yellow will be in a position to handle that kind of traffic very efficiently, he said.