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Should Amazon FBA Sellers Worry about NJ Warehouse?

An Amazon warehouse is being threatened with closure by the mayor of the town in which it is located – and it stems from the seasonal traffic – the real-life kind of traffic, that is!

“After key Amazon representatives no-showed a meeting with Robbinsville officials Wednesday, the mayor vowed to take the online retail giant to court demanding the shutdown of its 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse if the traffic problems remain unresolved,” NJ.com reported on Wednesday.

That would spell bad news for sellers who use Fulfillment By Amazon and have inventory at that location. And sellers don’t always know where there inventory is, since Amazon moves it around according to its needs.

Amazon defended itself in the piece, telling NJ.com it had a presence at Wednesday’s meeting. We reached out to Amazon directly. Amazon spokesperson Aaron Toso provided us with the following statement:

“We are proud of creating more than 4,000 regular, full-time jobs here in the Robbinsville community. Given the seasonal peaks of our business we have added an additional couple thousand more seasonal employees and we realize that this has created localized traffic issues.

“To date we have invested more than $300,000 in supporting the Z-line bus route that brings employees from Trenton directly to our fulfillment center. Currently, about 10 percent of our employees get to work on the Z-line. We have also begun another shuttle service that is free to employees and leaves from the Trenton Thunder parking lot.

“Additionally, we hire five off-duty police officers during each shift change to help assist with traffic flow around the Matrix Business Park.

“We are committed to continue working with the mayor and local authorities to mitigate these issues through our peak season.”

If you’re curious about how big the Robbinsville warehouse is, Amazon gave tours of the 1.2 million square foot fulfillment center in June. “Walking inside, officials say, most people experience a wide-eyed “Grand Canyon moment” when they absorb the sheer size and maze of machinery it holds,” a NJ.com reporter said at the time.

The Robinsville facility is an 8th-generation Amazon FC that utilizes hundreds of robots, the news outlet reported. “Amazon is also known for sorting items not by genres like you would find in a supermarket, but by the shape of the box they come in to save space. The computers know where everything is, so no need to keep books with books or gardening tools with gardening tools.”

So what are the skills necessary to work at Robbinsville? A job posting listed among the qualifications:

  • Must be able to lift up to 49 pounds with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Must be able to stand/walk for up to 10-12 hours.
  • Must be willing and able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend, and reach.

On a more somber note, Amazon has fulfillment centers in San Bernardino (ONT2, ONT5, ONT7) where a horrific shooting took place on Wednesday afternoon (thanks to Brian Cohen for bringing this to our attention). Reports on Twitter indicated concern about the safety of Amazon workers. An Amazon spokesperson told EcommerceBytes on Wednesday evening that Amazon associates were safe and not impacted.

UpdateNJ.com reports that Amazon has agreed to stagger the shifts of its 4,000-plus employees there to help spread out the traffic flow. “The four shifts – two new start times in the morning and two in the evening – will be staggered over a 90-minute period as opposed to 30 minutes.” See the NJ.com article for details.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.