Amazon has announced plans to build a centralized air hub in northern Kentucky for its Prime Air fleet of 16 leased cargo jets.
The infrastructure, to be situated near DHL’s global hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) in Hebron, Ky., “will help the company meet demand from Amazon Prime members for fast, reliable delivery,” the e-tailer said.
The move will further lesson Amazon’s dependence on traditional carriers (UPS and FedEx also maintain hubs in nearby Louisville and Indianapolis), and continues a logistical buildout that extends to trucking and ocean freight.
For its part, Amazon has said it’s looking to supplement rather than replace its carrier partners, although in making the announcement Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin appeared to suggest otherwise.
“Amazon’s Prime Air hub promises to revolutionize the fulfillment industry worldwide, and Kentucky is excited to partner with them as they embark on this disruptive, transformative and exciting venture,” he said.
The e-tailer similarly acknowledged that after streamlining the fulfillment process with “algorithms, robotics, machine learning and other technological innovations … Amazon is now bringing the same technological expertise to efforts in the transportation space to increase shipping capacity for its customers.”
Those efforts include last year’s leasing of 40 cargo jets to speed Prime deliveries; a dedicated network of 4,000 trailers to increase trucking capacity; and the introduction of Amazon Flex, a mobile app that that allows individuals to sign-up, be vetted and begin making local deliveries.
As for the choice of CVG, Dave Clark, Amazon’s worldwide operations senior VP, cited Hebron’s skilled workforce and “centralized location with great connectivity to our nearby fulfillment locations.”
Amazon operates 11 distribution centers in the state.