Paris panicked by Amazon’s new express delivery service

While Amazon’s new high speed one–hour delivery service might sound great to customers, it is worrying authorities in the French capital.

Paris panicked by Amazon’s new express delivery service
Photo: AFP

According to authorities in Paris the new express delivery service that could see products – including groceries – delivered to customers’ homes within an hour will disadvantage the scores of independent stores in Paris.

Up until now Amazon had only offered same-day delivery for orders placed before 2pm.

They say they were only informed about the new one-hour service days before its launch last Thursday and have promised to be “uncompromising” on several points.

Firstly authorities in Paris have vowed to protect the interests of local independent shops, which give the French capital part of its world-renowned charm, but struggle to compete with web retailers the size of Amazon.

It wants legislators to define in law some safeguards that will prevent Amazon providing unfair competition to local traders and artisans.

It also claims existing laws around the opening of new supermarkets in Paris can be applied to Amazon and its “Prime Now” delivery service, which operates from a distribution centre in the 18th arrondissement, in the north of Paris.

Paris has also vowed to be ensure the service does not lead to any knock-on effects in terms of traffic and pollution, caused by the deliveries of products.

Paris City Hall, led by Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo, has previously shown her willingness to stand up for local stores in Paris.

Her battle against the government's plan to extend Sunday shop openings was because she feared allowing big stores like Galeries Lafayette to open on Sunday would disadvantage the small independent shops, for whom Sunday is a key day.

The battle is just another example of France’s fraught relationship with US multi-nationals, and in particular Amazon.

In 2013 former culture minister Aurelie Filippetti said Amazon was a “destroyer” of bookshops and in 2014 Amazon and the French government became involved in a tit for tat battle over its delivery service.

Amazon decided to hit back at a new law banning it from offering free deliveries in France by charging customers just one centime (1.4 cents) for books dispatched to their homes.




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Hundreds protest Amazon expansion in France

Hundreds rallied in several French towns on Saturday, January 30th, in protests against Amazon called by anti-capitalist and environmental groups, including at one site where the US e-commerce giant plans a massive warehouse.

Hundreds protest Amazon expansion in France
Image: Raymond Roig / AFP

Amazon plans to set up a 38,000-square-metre (400,000-square-feet) facility in the small southern town of Fournes near the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct bridge that is a World Heritage site.

A crowd police said numbered around 800 and which organisers estimated at 1,400 rallied at the site, planting shrubs in front of huge banners reading “Stop Amazon” and “Not here or anywhere”.

They formed a human chain to show the size of the project, while multicoloured balloons floated 18 metres (60 feet) up to indicate the height of the planned five-storey facility.

“It's two years that the citizens of Fournes and its surroundings have fought against the installation of a giant Amazon warehouse,” said Raphael Pradeau, spokesman for French citizens' activist group Attac.

“At the start they were a bit alone against everyone, but they have succeeded in halting the project thanks to legal recourse.”

“We want to show that these are not small isolated fights and that we can mobilise hundreds of people who are ready to return to stop the work”, said Pradeau.

Protesters in Fournes, France. Photo: Sylvain Thomas / AFP

Precarious jobs

Sarah Latour, 38, came with her two sons aged eight and six, and the family
planted a shrub in waste ground, where vines had once grown.

“These plants, these shrubs that we are planting today are a symbol of life that contrasts with the concreting that Amazon practises,” she said. “I came with my children because I don't want this destructive model for them.”

About 200 people also rallied outside an Amazon facility in Carquefou, a suburb of the western city of Nantes, organisers said.

“We condemn Amazon for destroying more jobs than they create, and that these are insecure jobs,” said Sophie Jallier, a spokeswoman for the organisers in Carquefou.

In the eastern town of Ensisheim, about 100 people gathered to protest a plan to build a giant warehouse on a 15-hectare site of former agricultural land. Bannners read “Amazon, Fiscal Vampire” and “No mega warehouse.”

“Today, we condemn an economic system that is at the end of its rope and which is using the planet,” said Isabelle Schaeffer, a member of an environmental group in the Sud Alsace region.

Other protests were held in Augny, in the eastern Moselle region, and in Perpignan in the south.

Amazon practices “unfair competition with regard to businesses that pay their taxes in France”, Eric Barbier of the environmental group Alteratiba said in Perpignan.

In addition, “most workers are on precarious contracts, hired during peak periods such as Black Friday or Christmas and are then thrown out”.