Amazon is churning the waters of cross-border logistics with its latest acquisition.
The e-commerce giant acquired INLT, a Los Angeles and Philadelphia-based startup that offers a platform for merchants to manage the costs and customs clearance associated with importing goods into the U.S.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Amazon plans on offering INLT’s cloud-based software to the sellers on its marketplace. While the timeline of that rollout and the program’s pricing have yet to be announced, Amazon said that INLT would continue to serve its existing customers in the interim.
“INLT is a smart, nimble team that is helping companies simplify and lower the cost of importing goods into the U.S.,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters. “We’re excited to work with them to develop the next generation of solutions for their customers and Amazon selling partners.”
The INLT website states, “We have been acquired by Amazon and look forward to working with them to develop the next generation of solutions for our current customers and Amazon Selling Partners,” and goes on to say that the company is not accepting new clients at this time.
While Amazon has not disclosed the financial details of the acquisition, Crunchbase reported that the seed-stage company raised $1 million in April of 2018.
Over the past decade, Amazon has diversified its product offerings and services, evolving from a marketplace to an all-out retail ecosystem.
The company has strengthened its own logistics and fulfillment business in recent months, helping to bolster the daily deliveries of millions of orders. Most of Amazon’s shipments are still fulfilled by traditional service providers like the USPS and UPS, though the company was dumped by FedEx in August.
Bringing cross-border logistics in house is a logical next step for Amazon. Many of the clothes, shoes and electronics available on the marketplace through third-party sellers are from overseas manufacturing hubs like China and Vietnam, among others.
For a company that prizes expediency above all else, an efficient solution to managing and facilitating its sellers imports could be yet another leg up for Amazon.