Amazon doubles size of disaster-relief logistics facility

Flatbed truck with a load of donated relief supplies for tornado victims.

Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday it has doubled the size of its facility in Atlanta dedicated to storing and distributing emergency supplies to support disaster-relief efforts.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) said the location will expand to 20,000 cubic feet of fulfillment space and will store 1 million relief supplies, up from 500,000 in inventory when the facility opened a year ago to the day. The facility supports the southeast U.S., the Gulf Coast, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Central America, Amazon said.

Amazon said it chose Atlanta because of its relatively close proximity to the affected areas.

The supplies, which Amazon has donated and pre-positioned, are designed to facilitate quick responses to calls for supplies most commonly needed at the front end of disaster-relief efforts. Those goods include tarps, tents, water containers and filters, medical equipment, clothing items, and kitchen supplies needed in the wake of natural or manmade disasters. 

As with last year, Wednesday’s announcement coincides with the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year’s cycle is forecast to have 14 to 21 named storms, Amazon said, citing projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Of those storms, six to 10 are expected to reach hurricane strength.

Since 2017, Amazon has been exploring ways to expedite disaster-relief responses. Typically, emergency teams assess the supplies on hand, procure items that they need, and then consolidate, pack and ship the supplies into disaster zones. The process can take several days and delay time-critical responses. Amazon has said that its pre-positioning strategy is an effort to quickly get supplies to where they’re needed.

In an interview with FreightWaves last August, Abe Diaz, who leads Amazon’s disaster-relief efforts, said that the facility will reduce by 75% the amount of time that Amazon spends on procuring and packing supplies.

Source: freightwaves

Amazon doubles size of disaster-relief logistics facility