A peek inside Amazon's fulfillment center

Posted at 9:07 AM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 09:07:13-04
Two-day service, two-hour deliveries and even one-hour turnaround from the warehouse to your doorstep---this is the nerve center of arguably one of the fastest distribution systems in the world where minutes and even seconds matter.

"We don't try to put product together based on the type of product and what it might be.  We just put it wherever we have space," said Amazon Baltimore General Manager Mike Thomas as he gave a tour of the new distribution center on Broening Highway.

Workers teamed with 320 pound robots that can carry more than twice their weight in goods help ready the packages for delivery in the million-square foot fulfillment center in Southeast Baltimore, where General Motors once turned out vehicles.

The city and state invested more than $40 million in the project with the promise of creating at least a thousand jobs, and Amazon has returned much more.

"At the end of July, we announced that we had over 2,500 fulltime associates already in the city of Baltimore, and today we'd like to announce it's over 3,000 as we stand here today," said Thomas.

They are the kind of state-of-the-art jobs, which can have a ripple effect through the entire region.

"Everyone knows Amazon.  So when you say Amazon and 3,000 jobs, it means something," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"I hear from my staff that Amazon is dipping its toes into the food delivery market.  Is that correct?" queried Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.

And while Amazon won't confirm or deny expansion plans here, in the future, it could deliver even more.

"Well, I'm an intelligence guy so maybe I was listening to your calls.  No.  I'm serious.  NSA does not do that.  Believe me," joked the congressman.

Amazon claims its median salary is 30 percent higher than traditional retail stores, and its workers should have plenty of room to operate.

Officials say the building is the size of 59 football fields.

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