Amazon in late October opened a 96,000-square-foot warehouse on Belvedere Road near Florida’s Turnpike west of West Palm Beach.
A fleet of gray vans has appeared on Palm Beach County roads in recent weeks, the latest sign that Amazon continues to wage war not just on traditional retailers but also on UPS, FedEx and the Post Office.
Amazon in late October opened a 96,000-square-foot warehouse on Belvedere Road near Florida’s Turnpike west of West Palm Beach. The warehouse aims to cover the “last mile,” logistics jargon for the distance between Amazon’s distribution centers and its customers’ homes.
While Amazon long has relied on UPS and the U.S. Post Office to deliver packages, its army of gray vans means Amazon now can deliver packages itself.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has ordered 25,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in recent years as it ramps up its operations.
The Amazon Logistics hub in Palm Beach County occupies a newly built distribution center owned by Indianapolis-based Duke Realty, a prominent warehouse landlord.
Amazon has said it planned to hire 200 people at the new facility, all earning more than $15 an hour.
The company received no public subsidies for the project, said Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.
It’s the first location in Palm Beach County for Amazon, which named South Florida one of 20 finalists for its second headquarters. Northern Virginia won that prize, but Amazon has continued to open warehouses in Florida.
“Amazon is certainly being very aggressive in Florida right now,” Smallridge said.
Amazon declined the Palm Beach Post’s queries.
The last-mile hub gives Amazon more control over its delivery, said David Maloney, editorial director at DC Velocity, a trade publication covering the supply chain.
In recent holiday shopping seasons, UPS and FedEx have found themselves overwhelmed by a flood of packages. Delivering packages itself boosts Amazon’s ability to deliver gifts by Christmas.
“They want to assure that capacity, and they want to reduce their costs,” Maloney said.
Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is the nation’s fifth-largest company by revenue, with $233 billion in sales in 2018. Despite its ever-expanding reach, Amazon has room to grow: Rival Walmart reported $514 billion in sales last year.
Amazon’s ever-expanding reach has roiled the package-delivery industry. The company this year ended a contract with FedEx.
Meanwhile, Amazon is pushing more deeply into the grocery market. It owns Whole Foods and has ramped up grocery deliveries.
And the “Amazon effect” has emptied malls across the country and hastened the demise of such retailers as Sports Authority and Toys R Us.