- Amazon has bought a 9.9% stake in Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), an airplane leasing company based in Wilmington, OH, according to a Friday filing with the SEC first reported by Fortune.
- The marketplace’s fulfillment arm, Amazon Fulfillment, last week announced it would lease 20 Boeing 767s from ATSG to improve delivery operations.
- Earlier this year, Amazon’s Chinese arm also won a license from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission that allows it to operate ocean freight services.
Amazon is continuing its quest to exercise greater control over its fulfillment operations. Only a week after leasing 20 widebody Boeing 767 cargo jets from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), Amazon has bought almost 10% of the aircraft leasing firm, which will give it a say in company operations.
That’s not the only move the marketplace has made to bring more shipments in-house. Earlier this year, Amazon became a licensed maritime shipper, and in December 2015, the company bought “thousands” of branded semitrailers to transfer goods between its U.S. fulfillment and sorting centers.
While many analysts say these are steps toward replacement of third-party shippers such as UPS and FedEx and the launch of its own global shipping company, Amazon insists it is merely seeking to supplement its existing fulfillment network. However, Amazon has quickly stepped up its involvement with ATSG since launching flights from the company's Wilmington, Ohio, air park in November 2015.
Whatever the goal, Amazon's growth warrants the fulfillment investment. The company has achieved average annual growth rates of 28% from 2012-2014, according to Forbes, and reported $107 billion in revenues for 2015.