Work continues at a brisk pace on the new “middle mile” facility under construction for Amazon in Rensselaer County, despite a company-acknowledged mismatch between consumer demand and warehouse capacity.
The facility, off Routes 9 and 20 in Schodack, not far from the 1 million square foot Amazon fulfillment center which opened in 2020, will be part of the e-commerce giant’s logistics network.
Serviced primarily by 18-wheelers, the “mid-mile” centers gather ordered goods from inventory locations far from the “first mile”, group them into geographically organized loads, and then send them to the “last mile” delivery stations. kilometer” which transport them to the hands of customers.
The Schodack facility will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and cover nearly 280,000 square feet on 56 acres. Scannell Properties, an Indiana real estate developer, secured the site and is overseeing the project, as it did for the nearby Amazon fulfillment center.
Diagrams of the facility show parking for more than 400 employees, 78 loading dock locations and nearly 300 truck trailer parking spaces. Workers would work part-time on four- to six-hour shifts operating around the clock, an Amazon representative told the city.
On a first-quarter conference call in April, however, company executives admitted that Amazon’s pandemic scramble to meet demand for goods by rapidly expanding its distribution network now has it working while as hard to “adjust” its capacity.
“[W]We made conscious decisions in 2020 and early 2021 not to let space be a constraint on our business” and built “upscale from a very volatile demand outlook,” analysts told the Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky.
Now that demand is stabilizing, “we see an opportunity to better match our capacity to demand,” he said.
Part of this strategy appears to be canceling or delaying installations.
Media in Rochester, for example, reported last week that a nearly 3 million square foot distribution center in suburban Gates, due to open in September, has been pushed back to next year. A medium mile facility near Ogden, the size of the planned Schodack Center, may be more uncertain.
Industry newsletter Modern Shipper earlier this month listed 16 warehouses nationwide that Amazon has canceled or delayed.
Marc Wulfraat, founder and president of Montreal-based supply chain consultant MWPVL International, which maintains an online database of Amazon facilities around the world, said he hadn’t heard any rumors about the new center. Schodack.
He said Amazon only has two locations left in New York, near Buffalo and on Staten Island. The former can serve the upstate from west of Syracuse, and Staten Island can serve the downstate.
But Schodack, he said, “is critical to effectively serving the Albany market.”
“Greater Albany has 900,000 people, so I would say that’s too big to delay,” Wulfraat said. “This type of facility is critical to enabling Amazon to support its own last-mile delivery and enable next-day and two-day delivery service levels.”
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the Schodack site.
Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. The opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Join her at [email protected].
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