Amazon operates a complicated supply chain but they make it easy for trucking companies to haul loads through their Amazon Relay program.
Rather than posting to existing load boards or requiring trucking companies to work with brokers, Amazon allows truckers to directly book loads through their website and mobile app.
While Relay can be a great option for new or established trucking companies, booking loads on the platform can almost be too easy which means rates aren't always the highest. Still, truckers can find consistent work driving for Amazon and those that now how to navigate the platform can find loads that are worth hauling.
Below is our complete guide to Amazon Relay. We cover how trucking companies can book the best-paying loads, requirements for the platform, how to apply, and what it's like working with Amazon.
Amazon Relay is a platform where motor carriers and owner operators can find and book loads, enter into short-term contracts, and post when their truck is available so that Amazon can match them with a load.
Amazon Relay is built for motor carriers and owner operators driving semi-trucks or box trucks.
Truckers can find dry van, reefer, and power-only loads on the platform. Trailers must be either 53’ or 28’ and box trucks must have interior cargo dimensions of at least 26’x8’x8’.
Trucking companies can find work on Amazon Relay in one of three ways:
Similar to other load boards or digital brokers, carriers and drivers can find and book loads on the Amazon Relay website or mobile app. The load board is free to access and companies are not required to commit to any loads.
Pros: Most flexible and offers greatest control
Cons: Can be time consuming and may miss out on high-paying loads that get booked in seconds
Carriers and owner operators can also commit to short term contracts for more predictable work. These contracts can last a few days up to multiple weeks.
Pros: Carriers and drivers have consistent work and know their schedules ahead of time
Cons: Less flexibility and the pay-per-load may be less than other options
Companies can post the availability of open trucks and then Amazon Relay acts as a dispatcher, automatically matching trucks with loads that meet their requirements.
Pros: Drivers are automatically matched with loads and loads typically pay more
Cons: Less flexibility than the load board and less predictable than short-term contracts
Users can book three different types of loads on the Amazon load board:
While the first two are self-explanatory, more details on an Amazon Relay Block below.
An Amazon Relay Block is a special type of load where drivers are assigned to work specific hours rather than specific loads. Drivers are paid a flat rate for each Block.
Amazon Relay has strict requirements for the motor carriers and drivers on their platform.
Like the entire spot market, Amazon Relay loads are dynamically priced based on demand and miles in a load.
Truckers report getting great rates during the holidays and Prime week but at other times, the rates aren’t much better than the rest of the spot market.
When searching for loads, the Amazon Relay app will display the per-mile price along with the distance traveled, whether the load requires a partner, and the weight of the load.
Amazon Relay short-term contracts pay a flat rate for the week but the rates vary based on location, trip length, and demand.
While short-term contracts guarantee work, the pay will typically be lower than booking individual loads or using the Post a Truck feature.
Amazon’s payment cycle runs Sunday to Saturday, with loads being completed before the end-of-day Saturday getting paid the following Friday. In practice, this means trucking companies will be paid within 1-2 weeks of hauling a load.
While one-day payments are advertised on their site, drivers will need to contact Amazon about the terms available. Amazon Relay loads can also be factored.
No, Amazon does not pay for fuel or reimburse for expenses while driving for the company.
Yes, Amazon covers fuel surcharges by the mile for drivers who use Relay, based on weekly national averages published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
If Amazon cancels a load 2 hours before pickup time, drivers are paid $175 for the canceled load.
The Amazon Relay application is fairly straightforward. To make sure it goes smoothly, carriers should follow these steps:
Amazon Relay typically approves applications within 2-4 business days but some drivers report receiving approvals within 24 hours.
Amazon Relay does not perform background checks on their carriers or drivers.
If your Amazon Relay application gets denied, it may be because you recently applied for your MC number and authority. Wait two days before applying again to allow time for Amazon’s system to verify your authority status.
Applications may also be denied if they contain inaccurate or incomplete information. Ensure you provide exact details regarding your name and company name. For example, if the legal name of the business has an “LLC” in it, be sure “LLC” is included on the application so that it aligns with FMCSA data.
If you get a “You Do Not Meet Our Compliance” response during your application and you’ve verified your insurance is active, it may mean that Amazon Relay’s system hasn’t fully updated with the FMCSA database yet.
You can resolve the issue by reaching out through the “Contact Us” page on Amazon Relay and they will recheck the FMCSA database.
Amazon Relay scores all of their carriers based on their performance to make sure loads are delivered safely and on time. Top performing carriers receive priority access to loads and short term contracts.
A carrier’s score is equal to the lowest of their grades across the following four categories:
Amazon only considers the previous 6 weeks when calculating grades so companies can quickly increase or decrease their scores.
Carriers can improve their Performance Score by following these tips:
Amazon Relay’s early access program opens the loads and short-term contracts to drivers with high Performance Scores before other drivers.
This program allows drivers to plan and book loads further out, rather than waiting until the last minute to plan their routes. Planning routes with early access comes with a price, however – truckers report receiving comparatively low rates per mile.
Carriers can reject a load through the portal using any of the following codes. However, it’s important to note that rejections may affect a carrier’s Performance Score.
The Amazon Relay driver app is free to download and use. Drivers can book loads on their phone by following these steps:
Amazon Relay is a great option for new carriers or carriers with additional capacity. However, companies shouldn’t rely entirely on Amazon Relay because loads will likely be lower than working directly with shippers or building strong relationships with brokers.
Yes, you need an active DOT number with interstate authority and an MC number to drive for Amazon Relay.
Yes, you can use a 26’ box truck for Amazon Relay. A tuck-under lift gate is required along with interior cargo dimensions of at least 26’x8’x8’.
No, cargo vans cannot be used for loads on Amazon Relay.
Amazon Relay does use an interchange agreement but they do not require trailer interchange coverage specifically. They just require trailer replacement coverage of at least $50,000, which could be satisfied with trailer interchange coverage or a non-owned trailer endorsement.
The peak season for Amazon Relay is mid-November through the first week of January. The weeks surrounding Amazon Prime Day is another optimal time to run Amazon Relay loads.
Yes, loads on Amazon Relay can be factored.
Amazon Relay functions similar to a digital load board and motor carriers can still haul loads for other clients.
Becoming an Amazon Freight Partner, on the other hand, is similar to becoming an owner operator and leasing onto Amazon. Amazon helps drivers start their own small trucking company by helping potential companies acquire vehicles, drivers, and loads but Amazon Freight Partners cannot haul freight they find elsewhere.
While Amazon Relay is a program for semi trucks and box trucks to haul cargo from warehouse to warehouse, Amazon Flex drivers use their own vehicles to make deliveries of individual packages to consumers and businesses that order products from Amazon.
The Amazon Relay contact number is (866) 886-8802. Truckers can also avoid lengthy holds by using the support center available on the Relay portal.