Amazon expands MEM presence with fulfillment center

Amazon expanded its presence in the Memphis metropolitan area with a groundbreaking yesterday at its newest fulfillment center in Raleigh, Tenn., a community located 20 miles north of Memphis International Airport (MEM).

The 855,000-square-foot facility will be Amazon’s sixth fulfillment center in the state. Amazon bought the property for the facility for US$3 million and filed an $8 million building permit to start construction in November, local news outlets reported. Further details regarding the anticipated opening date of the facility are forthcoming.

While the center is expected to create 1,000 full-time jobs in the Memphis metropolitan area, the fulfillment center will differ from others already in the region as it will also rely heavily on the use of automated robots to carry and sort small packagers. These robots, sized and shaped like Roomba vacuum cleaners, similar to those YTO Express is using, and which the Chinese express carrier showed off to Air Cargo World during a private tour of its facility in June 2019.

Amazon’s groundbreaking on the new fulfillment center comes alongside to FedEx’s own $1.1 billion investment to modernize its world hub at MEM, and the $217M expansion of UPS’ air-ground hub at the airport.

Rumors that Amazon may increase flights to MEM were denied by Amazon spokesman Owen Torres in a statement to Air Cargo World today. He said the online retail giant has no current plans to increase its frequencies at MEM. This does not preclude Amazon from adding flights at a later point.

Air Cargo World would not be surprised to see a change in plans or news announced later in the year of increased frequencies to the region, given Amazon’s other major and recent expansions in the region.

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