Amazon’s Quiet Shipping Shakeup

Amazon may not have planned the explosion of digital commerce and everything else that came with it, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t see the writing on the wall when delivery companies started reaping millions in fees as consumers acquired an appetite for online ordering. Now, Amazon is trying to write its own script.

The Seattle Times reported that Amazon is set to announce its acquisition of Colis Privé, a French parcel delivery startup, sometime next week. The deal also includes ownership stakes in several other smaller companies that previously held ties to Colis Privé, including a delivery company based in and with rights to operate within the U.K.

John Haber, CEO of Atlanta-based supply chain consulting firm Spend Management Experts, told USA Today that the move indicates a new phase of logistics business development for the retail giant. While a power grab in Europe could be a good testing ground for larger markets, it’s very unlikely that Amazon plans on stopping there.

“We anticipate they will either make a similar acquisition on the U.S. domestic side (perhaps buying a regional carrier) or continue building out a delivery network internally,” Haber said.

At the crux of the debate over whether Amazon is truly developing its own internal carrier service is just how many of its own orders Amazon processes internally at the moment anyway. Jarrett Streebin, CEO of shipping and tracking startup EasyPost, told USA Today that while Amazon still relies on third parties for last-mile fulfillment, it’s safe to say that it’s been moving solidly in the direction of creating its very own shipping service, right under the noses of new rivals FedEx and UPS.

Streebin did question the long-term consequences of the move, especially from the perspective of investors. As Amazon becomes more like a shipping company, it solves the problems of its retail side, while taking on all the issues of the logistics business.