Amazon is preparing to change the way it fulfills customer orders in Honolulu with a new facility that could involve company-branded vans and personal vehicles delivering packages.
The online retail giant recently applied to the city for a permit to build a $120 million “delivery station”on 14 acres of land in Kalihi Kai that Amazon bought last year from automobile dealer Servco Pacific Inc. for $125 million.
Lisa Campos, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company had no new information to share publicly since saying last year that the land acquisition would provide flexibility to respond to Amazon’s future network needs.
The building permit application, however, indicates that Amazon intends to build a delivery station that includes a multilevel parking garage and offices at the 2101 Auiki St. site near Sand Island.
Amazon generally describes delivery stations as facilities where orders are prepared for the last leg of delivery to customers.
“Delivery stations power the last mile of Amazon’s order fulfillment process,” the company said last year in a news release announcing such a facility in San Antonio.
Amazon has more than 150 delivery stations around the country, and each one typically creates hundreds of full- and part-time jobs for workers receiving large truckloads of packages and loading them into smaller vehicles for final delivery.
These stations, according to Amazon, also offer opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their own delivery service serving Amazon by leasing company-branded vans and employing drivers who wear Amazon uniforms, as well as for independent contractors who can use their own personal vehicles to deliver packages under what the company calls Amazon Flex.
Amazon established the entrepreneurial delivery service in 2018, saying that entrepreneurs with startup costs as low as $10,000 could earn as much as $300,000 annually operating a fleet of up to 40 delivery vehicles.
“Individual owners can build their business knowing they will have delivery volume from Amazon, access to the company’s sophisticated delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on a suite of assets and services, including vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance,” the company said three years ago.
“Over time, Amazon will empower hundreds of new, small business owners to hire tens of thousands of delivery drivers across the U.S., joining a robust existing community of traditional carriers, as well as small- and-medium-sized businesses that already employ thousands of drivers delivering Amazon packages.”
Separately, Amazon has its Flex delivery program operating in 50 cities across the country. This phone app-based program began in 2015.
It’s possible that for Honolulu, Amazon’s planned delivery station could be different from other ones around the country. But clearly, the company is investing heavily to continue to expand locally with a $245 million investment three years after it began flying its own cargo planes to Honolulu to supplement service from UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and Aloha Air Cargo.
Amazon’s package receiving and distribution facility at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport became the company’s only operating presence in Hawaii and shaved two to seven days off common Amazon delivery times to local customers.