For years, Amazon has been laying more and more groundwork for its own logistics and delivery network — one that today only ships and delivers Amazon orders, but could someday do much more in a direct challenge to UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.

Today, it is taking another big step toward that potential reality — even if it won’t say so for now.

The e-commerce giant is unveiling a program meant to fuel the creation of hundreds of new package-delivery businesses that can help Amazon handle the fast growth that its U.S. retail business continues to enjoy. Amazon says the program will offer new partnering delivery companies access to discounted rates on everything from fuel to vehicle insurance to delivery vans, as well as coaching from Amazon and an app to guide delivery people on which order should be dropped off when. Read More