Trucking Insurance for An Amazon Relay Owner Operator?
Apr 21, 2022 - Back to Blog
Amazon secretly introduced Relay in 2017, making it easier for truckers to pick up and drop off items at the retail giant's warehouses. Today, Relay has expanded and evolved to assist carriers in expanding their business by linking them directly to accessible loads. With new software called Relay, Amazon hopes to speed up the process of trucks entering and exiting its huge warehouses.
CNBC was the first to notice the app, which was claimed to have been released few years on both the Apple and Android app stores. It enables truck drivers to submit cargo information in advance and scan their phones to check-in and out of facilities easily. According to the app description, Amazon plans to or has already constructed special lanes at certain of its warehouses for truck drivers who use Relay to get in and out even faster.
Amazon has been expanding its trucking operations in recent years. According to a rumor last year, the monolithic was working on an app to link truckers and shippers, similar to what well-funded Seattle company Convoy does. Relay, which focuses on Amazon's internal operations, does not fit that description.
Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon.com's Worldwide Consumer group, and Jeff Bezos' venture capital arm, Bezos Expeditions, are both investors in Convoy. Dan Lewis, the CEO of Convoy, previously worked at Amazon as the general manager of new customer experiences for two years.
Amazon isn't the only corporation attempting to improve the transportation experience, with the majority of efforts focusing on automation. Uber Freight, a competitor to Convoy, was launched in May by Uber, which also purchased self-driving truck tech startup Otto in 2016. Nvidia, a chipmaker, collaborated earlier this year with Paccar, a truck manufacturer based in Bellevue, Wash., to develop self-driving truck technology.
Elon Musk's Tesla showcased an all-electric Semi truck. It was released in 2019 and will have Tesla's improved Autopilot technology. According to Tesla's calculations, the cost per mile for its all-electric semi would be $1.26 vs. $1.51 for diesel.
In April, it was shown that Amazon had a team studying how to effectively use autonomous vehicle technology, with the most obvious application being its more robust delivery network. Amazon was granted a patent in January for a central control system to assist autonomous vehicles in dealing with route changes on the road.
Commercial trucking is a difficult business to join and succeed in. Many owner-operators who drive their own vehicle find the day-to-day operations of operating a commercial truck to be difficult. According to federal data, over 400,000 commercial vehicle crashes occurred in the United States in 2015. Over half of the accidents were caused by the driver's error or negligence, making it more difficult for commercial truck drivers to obtain insurance.
Commercial vehicle insurance is required for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is legally mandated. It also covers drivers and owners in the event of a cargo loss, liability in an accident, or even during overhaul repairs if a rented truck is required to continue operations temporarily.
Amazon Relay makes it simple for trucking firms and owner-operators to locate, book, and transport Amazon loads. The Relay app assists drivers in seeing and managing their loads, reporting delays, and utilizing navigation capabilities.
When hauling loads for the company, all Relay partners must use Amazon Relay products. This is only one of many standards that carriers and owner-operators must achieve in order to begin hauling cargo for Amazon.
Amazon Relay is available in two modes: Standard and Book a Truck. Standard is what you'd expect: you're given a list of all the loads that need to be carried, and you utilize filters to pick the one that works best for your vehicle. Book a Truck is designed to reduce the idle time between loads; when your truck is not working, post details about your specific truck looking for a load (trailer type, location, etc.), and Amazon will provide you with a list of all the related loads so you can resume on the road as fast as possible.
It functions essentially as a combination of the spot and contract markets. You can arrange your loads ahead of time, or you can use Book a Truck to obtain something quickly. Amazon believes that combining the flexibility of the spot market with the regularity of the contract market will make fleet drivers happier and reduce business turnover.
Amazon Relay Attracts More Owner-Operators
Approved carriers can make use of Amazon's freight offering, which provides them with access to more than 30,000 spot loads each day via the Amazon load board. Loads have all-in pricing.
The fundamental benefit of Relay is that it automates the application and booking process, making it as quick and straightforward to secure loads as feasible. Instead of dealing with emails, phone conversations, and price negotiations, carriers have centralized the entire process: such as checking in and out, detailed load information, and commercial navigation.
What Kinds of Loads Do Carriers Discover On Amazon Relay?
Carriers who schedule individual tours for Amazon through the Relay Loadboard convey customer orders in the form of packages and parcels on the middle mile between Amazon's logistics and sorting centers and distribution centers. All loads available on Relay are Full Truck Loads (FTL) between Amazon network warehouses and contain packages that are either delivered to the client or necessary for inventory balancing inside the Amazon network.
How Are Carriers Using Relay?
Relay can be used to:
- Manage rosters
- Assign loads to drivers
- Analyze driver performance
- Review payments
The technology, however, can also be utilized to automate the assignment process. Carriers can provide their preferred date, time, pricing, destinations, and available capacity. To save time filling out paperwork, matched loads can be automatically assigned when they become available. Invoices are automatically created. All payments and invoices may be viewed directly on the Relay interface to save time.
How To Become Amazon Relay Carrier?
Carriers who want to haul freight for Amazon through Relay must apply through the self-service onboarding interface. Carriers can begin using the load board to search, book, and assign work after they have been approved. A driver-only app is available that provides real-time notifications, yard instructions, and commercial navigation.
Is it necessary for the carrier to meet certain requirements in order to participate?
To register your transport company with Amazon Relay, interested parties must have a valid international transport of goods license (EU license), valid carrier insurance (CMR insurance), and valid vehicle or fleet insurance. In addition, a few compliance standards must be met, including compliance with Amazon's Carrier Code of Conduct and all regulatory requirements. Finally, carriers must own a fleet of vehicles capable of transporting products between places. Amazon Relay provides carriers of all sizes with a wonderful option to make single journeys and avoid empty trips.
Requirements For Relay
- A valid MC number and an active DOT number with interstate authority. The filing to activate your MC authorization will be handled by the insurance company.
- A "Carrier" entity type that is authorized for both property and hire.
- A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Safety Rating of “Satisfactory,” “None,” or “Not Rated”
- All necessary insurance coverage, including:
- Commercial General Liability not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate
- Auto Liability not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, including a trailer replacement coverage of $50,000. Trailer replacement only required for tractors.
- Cargo coverage of least $100,000 that covers Amazon loads, cannot specify general freight dry van only
- The below coverages are only needed if you are hiring employees; it's not required for owner operator.
- Workers’ Compensation insurance in all jurisdictions where your company operates
- Employer Liability not less than $100,000 per occurrence
What Kind of Equipment Does Amazon Use?
- Trailers: 28’ trailer, 53’ dry van, Reefer
- Tractors: day cab, Box truck, and sleeper cab
Steps To Utilize Relay
The first action is to fill out the online application with your DOT information, insurance, company data, equipment, and payment information.
- Find and Book Loads
Once approved, carriers can begin viewing or searching for available loads that satisfy their requirements on the load board. All Amazon transportation contracts are also managed directly using the platform. It only takes one click to book a load.
- Start Hauling
After accepting a load, drivers can use the Relay app to receive real-time notifications, guidance for optimizing the check-in and check-out procedure, and commercial navigation.
Drivers can pre-register their tractors and trailers so they can easily enter and exit the yard when they arrive. All drivers need to do is provide the gate guard with their QR code for scanning, and they will be let in.
Over 90 percent of the loads on Relay are lightweight and drop-and-hook. This enhances driving efficiency while simultaneously reducing trailer waiting time. Around 70% of the loads on the load board are round-trip, which means drivers are compensated for returning home. This allows carriers to optimize their earnings while avoiding the need to find backhaul freight. If you work with Amazon, you can utilize Relay's app, load board, and carrier portal for free.
Short-Term Trucking Contracts With Amazon
Carriers of all sizes can benefit from Amazon's short-term contracts. These contracts assist bridge the gap between spot work and long-term contracts.
Contracts can be chosen from weeks to months in the future through Relay. Each contract comprises a whole week of labor for each week of the contract. Payout is assured as long as there is no cancellation or rejection. Even if Amazon does not use the contracted capacity, drivers are paid in full.
Short-term contracts provide carriers with weekly access to tens of thousands of loads. Transparency and guaranteed pricing provide carriers with an extra, dependable source of revenue. On the Relay platform, these contracts are available to a wide range of drivers.
If you want to get more engaged with local Amazon routes, we recommend applying for their Delivery Service Partner program. They are first-come, first-served, and new ones are released every week. Payments are directly paid into bank accounts within seven days of the work being finished.
The short-term contract program streamlines operations while reducing risk. It provides carriers with peace of mind. Carriers can commit to future employment and receive competitive pay. Small fleet owners can strike a balance between job security and the ability to optimize as the industry changes.
Amazon Relay allows carriers and owner-operators to collaborate with Amazon, one of the world's most prominent merchants. Approval is generally quick and straightforward. Carriers should be approved as long as they match the basic requirements. Once that process is complete, carriers can begin assigning loads to drivers and getting things going.
The Relay load board is conveniently accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and loads can be secured at any moment with the push of a button. It saves time and eliminates the need to contact via email or fight overpricing. Pricing is transparent, and it is guaranteed with short-term contracts.
Amazon Truck Driver Insurance Requirements
Trucking companies who want to participate in the Amazon Relay program must meet a number of criteria. One of the most important requirements for Amazon Prime owner-operators is adequate insurance. Your application will be rejected if you do not have enough insurance and enough forms of coverage. Amazon's insurance requirements are the same as other firms that provide on-demand transportation services, such as truckers and couriers.
The following are the company's basic insurance requirements for Relay partners:
Typically, general liability coverage will cover bodily injury and property damage caused by your products or services.
Amazon needs the following general liability minimums:
- $2 million in the aggregate
- $1 million minimum per occurrence
Commercial Auto Insurance
If you use a van or truck for commercial purposes, you must obtain commercial auto insurance. Accidental damages or injuries are covered under this policy. For this insurance, insurers provide a variety of coverage options, but Amazon demands the following:
- $1 million minimum liability per occurrence
- $50,000 for trailer replacement coverage
A cargo liability policy protects carriers from liability for goods damage or loss while in transit.
For cargo liability, Amazon requires the following:
- A minimum of $100,000 in coverage
With the exception of Texas, every state needs worker's compensation insurance if you have employees.
Amazon needs Relay partners to have this coverage in all of their locations.
An employer liability insurance coverage protects against employee claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and other workplace problems.
Amazon requires the following:
- $100,000 minimum per occurrence
What are the Advantages of Partnering with Amazon?
You must meet Amazon's requirements in order to work with them and haul their loads. As a result, some carriers and owner-operators are questioning whether it is worthwhile to partner with Amazon.
There are many benefits to joining Amazon Relay.
- Loads can be accessed quickly and easily.
Amazon is one of the world's biggest retailers. There is no scarcity of loads, so there is no shortage of work. As an Amazon partner, you'll have a lot of room to expand. You'll have access to thousands of full truckloads every day.
Amazon's load board simplifies understanding how much they pay as well as finding and securing jobs. You can schedule a cargo right away and be on the road in a matter of hours. Loads are simple to find and accept, thanks to their load board. Listings are clear, all-inclusive price is displayed, and you can book promptly.
- There are no hurdles to jump through to get paid.
You do not need to experience hurdles to get paid when working with Amazon. Using Amazon Relay technology, invoices are created automatically. You also have real-time access to your invoice history, ensuring transparency and removing the need to manually search through previous bills. Amazon prepares bills automatically, provides real-time access to account data, and assists you in being paid quickly.
- Use Advanced Technology
Amazon Relay provides a suite of technology tools that make it simple to operate more efficiently and safely. The software also gives navigation features such as weight limitations and bridge heights, as well as automatically checking you in and out of facilities, so you don't waste time idling.
- Short-Term Contracts
Carriers benefit from the ability to plan out an entire week's worth of work for drivers. You can even reserve multi-week or single-week contracts ahead of time. By committing to a short-term contract, you secure certain revenue.
- Maximize Your Time
Allow Relay to know when and where your trucks are vacant, and it will automatically reserve loads that match your criteria. This cuts down on downtime and empty miles, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
- Intuitive App for Drivers
To work more efficiently, drivers can use the Amazon Relay app. The app makes it simple to check in, plan, and provide real-time updates. Drivers are notified in real-time of new work assignments and cancellations. The program also supports automatic check-ins and check-outs at facilities, saving idle time in yards and at gates.
Drivers will also have access to truck-friendly navigation, which will guide them safely to the yard gates and use commercial-friendly roads. Amazon's navigation tool even considers weight limits, bridge heights, and other constraints that could otherwise cause transportation delays.
When Can I Start Moving Loads?
After they get your completed application, they will approve or reject it within 2-4 business days. Any delays will be induced by the validation of insurance information. Amazon recommends that you have all of your information available before applying and that you contact your insurance provider if there are any delays. Once approved, you will be able to book loads from our load board right away. You will also have access to Amazon Relay Portal FAQs and operating instructions for existing carriers, which will provide important information on how to successfully operate within our network.
Partnering with Amazon is one approach to ensure that your fleet is constantly operational. The load board is always full of work and you can keep developing your trucking business as long as you continue to meet Amazon's criteria, which include their insurance needs. Road Ready Insurance Agency can help you meet that criteria with amazing rates and service.