By Brandon Staton
IN PLANE SIGHT: AMAZON EXPANDS FLEET, SEES GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
n literature, a cautionary tale is folklore embedded with a moral message. Obvious danger is ignored, and the main character meets its demise as a result of certain misgivings. The lesson to be learned, whether explicitly stated or implied, is clear in the end. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is a modern-day King Midas — but with a twist. Amazon’s December announcement that it will expand its Amazon Air fleet from 40 to 50 (a 25% increase) came days after FedEx CEO Fred Smith downplayed any threat from the e-commerce giant.
24 PARCELindustry.com JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019
“We don’t see them as a peer competitor at this point in time,” Smith told investors. Yet, each day, it seems more likely that we will soon see what becomes of FedEx and UPS once Bezos gets his hands on the industry. Can he turn cardboard into karats, or will the weight of the move prove too heavy for Amazon to sustain? The world’s richest man, Bezos already has found his company on both sides of pressing societal issues. Workers and politicians have raised concerns about conditions and pay, and small businesses have clamored that Amazon is forcing them to shutter their
doors. Meanwhile, some 200 cities (more recently 20) have been at Bezos’ beckoning call in their attempts to land Amazon’s second headquarters in their respective cities. Admiration or disdain for the company seems to depend on the lens through which one views it. The American economy is founded upon capitalism and whether for or against the e-commerce giant, there is no arguing that Bezos — one of history’s greatest entrepreneurs — has capitalized. By the end of 2017, Amazon employed 566,000 people; almost twice as many as the next eight leading global internet companies combined.
PARCEL Jan/Feb 2019