(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc. is opening three new distribution centers in Brazil, marking its biggest logistics push in Latin America’s largest market as competition intensifies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The expansion, which comes two months after the U.S. ecommerce giant launched its largest distribution center yet in the country, adds 75,000 square-meters to Amazon’s logistics infrastructure. It also gives it more bandwidth, raising to 500 the number of cities with deliveries in less than 48 hours—just shy of 10% of municipalities in Brazil.
“It’s in our DNA to expand and be closer to our customers,” Amazon’s country manager for Brazil Alex Szapiro said in an interview, adding that “there’s still more to come” without elaborating further.
The new distribution centers, which together are expected to create 1,500 direct jobs in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Porto Alegre cities, were made in the so-called “built-to-suit” model and have the same technology used in other countries, he said. Szapiro declined to provide investment figures, but added all three can have storage capacity expanded if needed.
The Seattle-based company began to build its long-awaited delivery network in Brazil in January last year, when it opened the first distribution center just outside the mega city of Sao Paulo to kick off direct sales and expand operations beyond the marketplace for third-party sellers.
Amazon now has eight distribution centers across Brazil and is moving closer to extending some fulfillment services to sellers, in what is likely to pose an even bigger challenge to competitors also striving to respond as fiercely to Brazil’s growing e-commerce demand.
Magazine Luiza, B2W Companhia Digital, Via Varejo and powerhouse MercadoLibre Inc. have been stepping up efforts to speed up deliveries and take a bigger chunk of the market, either through acquisitions or organically.
Like the Buenos Aires-based retailer, Amazon currently uses airplane cargo carriers to ship merchandise in Brazil.
“Some of the new locations we’re opening like Brasilia, for instance, have a fantastic air route with daily flights to North and Northeastern cities,” Szapiro said.
Amazon is No. 1 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500.