In the past few months, Amazon has made moves to open two fulfillment centers and one delivery station in metro Baton Rouge and Lafayette that will double its area operations, but doesn’t appear to be done building out its south Louisiana distribution network.
Based on the combined populations of metro New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, as many as six more local delivery stations could be added to three stations already operating in the area, along with the development of a regional sortation center, said Marc Wulfraat, a logistics expert who tracks Amazon.
Delivery stations and regional sortation centers generally have a few hundred employees each, but hire additional workers during busy periods, so the additional construction could mean thousands of new jobs on top of more than 1,000 combined expected at the two planned fulfillment centers.
“When the dust settles, you may end up with nine or 10 delivery stations,” said Wulfraat, president and founder of MWPVL, a supply chain, distribution and logistics consulting firm based in Montreal. MWPVL has worked with a variety of businesses, including Fortune 100 firms.
Amazon has closed on the deal to buy land at the former Evangeline Downs racetrack site for a 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center, a source…
Ty Gose, a commercial sales and leasing agent with NAI/Latter & Blum, who has worked with Amazon and its developers in acquiring land for its delivery and fulfillment centers in Baton Rouge and Carencro, said the company’s expansion plans call for more of a presence in south Louisiana.
“Having worked with them this past year, there is definitely more in the works,” he said.
Amazon currently has two delivery stations in New Orleans, both in the Elmwood area, and one in Baton Rouge, recently built off Rieger Road. Those handle “last mile delivery” for Amazon, with drivers taking packages directly to homes, businesses and apartments. Some stations are set up to handle small packages, while others handle large bulky items, such as appliances, which may have to be brought inside a house and installed.
The network of delivery stations is set up so drivers don’t have to go more than 20 to 25 miles before dropping off their first package, Wulfraat said. So they deliver within a 45- to 50-mile radius. Between 700 to 900 vans operate out of the stations, with drivers pulling up in platoons to get the items they need to take on their delivery route.
The delivery stations are fed by a regional sortation center. That’s where items gathered from Amazon fulfillment centers are shipped to. Employees at the sortation center determine if it would be best to send an item through the U.S. Postal Service or if Amazon’s own distribution network should handle delivery.
Currently, Wulfraat said, the south Louisiana market is being served by a sortation center in Humble, Texas, near Houston. “There will be some sort of an announcement about a sortation center in your area down the road,” he said. Generally, the sortation centers are about 250,000 to 300,000 square feet and they operate in a 200-mile radius.
A developer that works with Amazon recently purchased a 63-acre site off La. 415 in Port Allen and its use has not yet been announced as to whether it might be a delivery station or potentially a sortation center.