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Amazon lockers headed for Japanese retailers and train stations

E-tailer teams with FamilyMart and Odakyu to ease logistics strain

Amazon Japan plans to install the lockers in up to 1,000 locations nationwide within a few years.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Amazon Japan will begin installing Amazon Locker pickup kiosks in Japanese retail outlets and train stations this year, looking to combat the ills plaguing the parcel delivery industry here.

The e-tailer is partnering with the FamilyMart convenience store chain, supermarket operator Fuji Citio and Odakyu Electric Railway. The lockers will appear in dozens of retail outlets and train stations by the end of this year, mostly in the greater Tokyo area. Amazon Japan will expand the service to 500 to 1,000 locations nationwide in the next few years.

American parent Amazon.com began accelerating deployment of the password-enabled lockers in the U.S. last year, where the kiosks are available in over 900 towns and cities. But in Japan, delivery lockers of any kind have marginal penetration. In 2017, less than 1% of people had used such terminals to pick up deliveries, a government survey found.

The expansion of the Amazon lockers also will ease pressure on home delivery services. The growth of online shopping has produced a steep increase in parcel volumes as well as redeliveries, contributing to a deepening crisis in the logistics chain.

Ground transport providers are employing delivery lockers as a solution to the problem. Industry leader Yamato Transport, in partnership with other companies, installed lockers at roughly 4,300 locations in major cities as of June. The lockers are near train stations and inside supermarkets, among other sites.

Plans call for expanding the network to 5,000 locations by the end of March. Ground shippers Sagawa Express and DHL Japan use the same lockers, as does Japan Post Holdings.

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