Ride hailing company Uber’s aspirations of delivering meals, diapers and new sneakers are no secret. But FedEx and UPS shouldn’t worry too much.
“They’re delivering something from Chicago to LA, that’s not our game,” Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick said on Wednesday at a conference in San Francisco hosted by business software company Salesforce.
He explained that Uber’s interest rests with local delivery. Competing with major shipping companies for long-distance logistics isn’t in his sights.
Uber began as a way to hail a private black car, and eventually expanded to drivers using their own cars to ferry passengers. It then pushed into carpools.
“We’re in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, but once you can deliver cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes,” Kalanick said.
After a few small tests this year, Uber introduced UberEats, a meal delivery service, in several cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Barcelona. Last year, Uber launched a courier service, UberRush, in New York City. It’s also rumored to be planning a same-day delivery service for retailers that could launch in New York City and San Francisco this fall.
How much money Uber can make as a local delivery service remains to be seen. Kalanick admitted that the company’s carpool service, UberPool, is “less profitable” than private rides for a single passenger, largely because the company’s rates are heavily subsidized to attract riders. Companies like Postmates, which specializes in deliveries, haven’t publicly revealed their revenue and profits.
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