Amazon Increasingly Wants To Be Its Own Deliveryman

Amazon isn't content just being the "everything store." Increasingly, it looks like it wants to be its own deliveryman, too.

Its Monday announcement of a new air cargo hub in Kentucky is merely Amazon's latest foray into building out its own shipping and logistics unit. If successful, the move could ultimately mean lower costs for Amazon -- and possibly faster delivery and low prices for consumers. But it could also pit Amazon against package deliverers like FedEx and UPS.

Amazon has long plowed its profits back into its business investments. In order to speed up its delivery, it has invested in opening new distribution centers and leasing fleets of trucks. In May, Amazon leased 40 Boeing jets from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group Inc., a fleet it dubbed "Prime Air."

The moves comes as e-commerce continues to outpace retail sales. Amazon said Thursday the number of items it sold in the fourth quarter rose 24 percent compared with a year ago. Its revenue rose 22 percent to $43.74 billion, slightly missing analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, profit rose 36 percent to $749 million, or $1.54 per share, ahead of expectations.

Next Step

On Monday, Amazon took the next step, announcing plans to build a worldwide air cargo hub at a northern Kentucky airport about 13 miles southwest of Cincinnati. The nearly $1.5 billion investment is expected to create 2,700 jobs.

It's an auspicious location, since UPS has a big air hub in Louisville and DHL has an international shipping hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Amazon has long batted down rumors that it plans to start its own package delivery service, saying it's just trying to speed up deliveries and lower costs. The company insists it will continue working with the U.S. Post Office, UPS, FedEx and other carriers to deliver packages.

"It's not a big...

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