Editor’s pick: Originally published Jan. 25.
At first it seemed like Amazon was focusing solely on the last mile, or local delivery. That's where things like drones would come into play, or even Amazon-owned trucks and vans. But then there were reports in December of Amazon leasing its own jet planes to use for cross-country delivery, which certainly wouldn't qualify for the last mile.
Subsequently, there was a report that Amazon might be buying a French shipping company called Colis Privé, in which Amazon already has a 25% stake. Again, probably not for the last mile.
Most recently, Amazon China has registered to operate as an ocean freight forwarder in the U.S., meaning that Amazon can deliver products from China to the U.S. on its own ships.
All of these bits and pieces have led Baird analyst Colin Sebastian to predict that "Amazon will not only build out its own transportation and logistics network, but also offer these as services to third parties." The strategy that Sebastian laid out mirrors the path Amazon took with Amazon Web Services, where it first built out cloud services for its own purposes, but later decided to sell those services to other companies.