Amazon.in, the Indian arm of the world’s largest retailer, launched its largest fulfillment centre in Maharashtra (third largest in the country) ahead of the festive season.
The e-commerce platform is pushing its sustainability initiatives through the ‘Maharashtra first’ operations as it seeks to reduce packaging waste. The firm has also increased outreach with logistics partners ahead of festive sales.
The new centre, which is located near Bhiwandi (where Amazon has three existing warehouses) near Mumbai, has added more than 1.5 million cubic feet of storage space and 2.7 million square feet footprint. It will enable faster delivery of customer orders within the region and neighbouring states.
“Almost 65 per cent of our orders come from tier 2 and 3 cities. More than half our sellers are from the same regions and 85 per cent of our traffic is for mobile phones. So, our demographics are changing as a result of which we are spreading deeper into the country,” said Akhil Saxena, vice-president, india customer fulfilment, Amazon India.
Amazon already has its largest India fulfillment centre in Hyderabad. The centre is spread over four lakh square feet and will be expanded to 5.8 lakh square feet. All of these are leased premises.
Rival Flipkart also recently announced expansion of its supply chain ahead of the festive sales.
“We have also expanded the delivery network significantly over the past year (festive season). We have a Hindi platform now and language support for both sellers and customers,” added Saxena. The platform has customised the website into a lighter platform. Fulfillment capacity has been increased significantly and the 1.5 times more flight capacity will support faster delivery through the festive season, said Saxena.
The new centre has the capacity for up to 2,000 employees during the festive season. With this infrastructure, Amazon.in now has storage capacity of more than 6 million cubic feet spread across 14 fulfillment centres in Maharashtra. Amazon India will exit 2019 with more than 50 fulfillment centres in 13 states across the country with a combined storage space of close to 25 million cubic feet.
Amazon India also announced its commitment to eliminate single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. It is replacing plastic dunnage like air pillows and bubble wraps with recyclable ‘paper cushions’ across its fulfilment centres in India to protect products in transit. This solution has already been launched in select fulfillment centres and will be extended across all such centres of Amazon in the country by the end of the year.
According to the India Warehousing Market Report 2019, by Knight Frank, 68 million square metres was the estimated warehousing space requirement in India in 2019.
The projected warehouse space requirement is expected to be 86 million square metres by 2024. The firm has ensured that its packaging material in the form of corrugate boxes and paper cushions contains 100 per cent recycled content and is also fully recyclable.
“We are working with local suppliers across the country to develop sustainable alternatives for packaging mailers, bubble bags, stretch wrap and tape used in packaging. This will help the company eliminate all forms of plastic used in its packaging and reduce carbon footprint,” said Saxena.