Since last November, Supply Chain Matters has highlighted developments indicating how Amazon is rolling out a strategy for managing and controlling its own logistics, transportation and customer fulfillment capabilities. They have included the long-term leasing from ATSG of dedicated air cargo aircraft, Amazon branded semi-trailers and advanced logistics sortation facilities.
Now social media and industry outlets are echoing a report from a German-language newspaper indicating that the online retailer may be negotiating a deal to buy the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany.
The focus of these reports emanates from a German language daily, Sueddeutsche Zeitung. A Tech Insider posting echoing this report indicates that the German report did not indicate what the discussions might have been about or how recently they occurred, but that three airport acquisition offers from unnamed parties were made for the airport. A posting on Geek Wire added that the subject Hahn airport is located near Koblenz where Amazon currently owns a large fulfillment center.
We would add that is the same pattern demonstrated when Amazon initially executed the lease of air cargo aircraft from ATSG last fall, electing a U.S. airport that was close by existing large Amazon customer fulfillment centers. Further, a published Seattle Times report in January indicated that the online retailer would begin competing directly with longtime partners United Parcel Service, FedEx and DHL in Europe, with pieces falling into place to make such competition a potential in the U.S. as well in time. That report might have indicated that Europe would have been the initial target.
Thus, if or when this potential acquisition of a European based airport does come to pass, it will be another stepping stone toward rolling out a global customer fulfillment capability totally managed by Amazon. Whether its Hahn airport, or another opportunity, the signs point to an active investment and deployment strategy underway, and online retailers and producers had better pay attention.