Amazon’s aerial ambitions

If there’s been one persistently hot issue – aside from the depressedair cargo market – that just keeps on getting hotter and hotter, it’sthe topic of Amazon and its purported ambitions to become its owntransport provider.


If there’s been one persistently hot issue – aside from the depressedair cargo market – that just keeps on getting hotter and hotter, it’sthe topic of Amazon and its purported ambitions to become its owntransport provider.

To recap – the fi rst indication Amazon was making moves into thetransport realm was late last year when news reports began circulating thatthe e-commerce company was quietly trialing its own air service in the US,code-named ‘Aerosmith’, which was being operated by Air Transport Services Group (ATSG).Th en barely a month later it emerged once again that Amazon had been working with DBSchenker to connect cities in Poland, Germany and the UK by air. ASL has reportedly beenfl ying a B737-300F six times a week to airports near Amazon fulfi lment centres in Wroclaw,Kassel and Doncaster.

Next was news that Amazon was expected to shortly acquire a 75 per cent stake in the Frenchpackage-delivery company Colis Privé, that it doesn’t already own. And then came the news that theUS-based company had received a license from the US Federal Maritime Commission to operateas a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) of cargo from China to the US.So it is, by now, pretty obvious that the e-commerce retailing giant is bound and determinedto move into the cargo transport realm. Exactly to what extend, at this point, remains unclear.It also begs the question, as to whether this is really a good idea – more control over its vitalfulfi llment function is understandable, but operating an air, ocean and ground network is avastly diff erent business proposition.