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How Amazon, UPS and Maersk Meet Covid’s Logistics Demands

Three of the largest logistics companies–Amazon, UPS and Maersk–have announced expansions projects either regionally or into new delivery modes.

The pandemic and broader societal changes have fueled the growth of e-commerce and customized shipping overall, spurring these companies to expand their breadth and scope.


E-commerce giant Inc. announced plans last week to open two new fulfillment centers in Kansas. The fulfillment centers, which are anticipated to launch in 2021, will together create more than 1,000 new, full-time jobs.

“We’re excited to continue our growth and investment across Kansas so we can better serve our customers throughout the state,” Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment, said.

In each of the 1 million-square-foot fulfillment centers, located in Kansas City and Park City, Amazon associates will work to pick, pack and ship bulky or larger-sized customer items such as outdoor equipment, patio furniture or rugs. Amazon also plans to open a new delivery station in Wichita later this year.

Amazon has pledged to invest $700 million to provide upskilling training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in-demand jobs. The programs will help workers from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled roles across the company’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, stores and transportation network, or pursue career paths outside of Amazon.

Three of the largest logistics firms–Amazon, UPS and Maersk–have announced expansions either regionally or into new delivery modes.
An Amazon fulfillment center.

Since 2010, Amazon has created more than 4,500 jobs in Kansas and invested more than $2.9 billion across the state, including infrastructure and compensation to employees. These investments have contributed an additional $2.3 billion in gross domestic product to the Kansas economy and have helped create some 4,100 indirect jobs on top of Amazon’s direct hires. In addition, more than 10,500 independent authors and small and medium businesses in Kansas are selling to customers in Amazon’s store, creating thousands of additional jobs across the state.


Package delivery market leader UPS will expand its North Carolina presence with the addition of 592 jobs in Guilford and Alamance counties, Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week. The company plans to invest $316.4 million at two sites over the coming four years.

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“The pandemic highlights that supply chain management and delivery services are critical during a crisis,” Cooper said. “These two expansions are a bold investment that add up to hundreds of jobs and millions in investment across North Carolina.”

“UPS appreciates the State of North Carolina for their support of these projects that will help UPS move our world forward by delivering what matters,” Derrick Johnson, president of UPS’s South Atlantic District, said. “The new and expanded facilities will increase the speed and flexibility for connecting businesses and customers throughout the state, across the country and around the globe. This is an exciting time to be part of North Carolina’s economic growth and we look forward to bringing additional jobs that pay well to the Greensboro area as a partner in the community.”

UPS currently employs 2,461 workers in North Carolina. The package delivery company will expand its existing Greensboro hub with the addition of 141 new jobs and construct a new package car center at the N.C. Commerce Center in Graham, creating 451 jobs there. New positions at both facilities will come with wages averaging $65,147 per year, creating a total annual payroll impact of $38.5 million for the region.

UPS’s North Carolina expansion will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee last week. Over the course of 12 years, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by more than $1.4 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $10.23 million over 12 years.


Ocean freight specialist Maersk expanded its product portfolio to air freight when the first of multiple chartered airplanes moved a shipment of tires from Thailand to Japan on Oct. 11. This came after Damco’s Air services combined with Maersk’s logistics and services products in early October to complement Maersk’s end-to-end offering for clients around the world focused on ocean freight.

Rupesh Jain, managing director of Maersk Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, said the development demonstrates the company’s ambition to become an integrator of container logistics with value-added services.

“We have truly completed the transportation mode circle,” Hean Chun Goh, auto, electronic and tech vertical head for Maersk Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, said.

With the new capacity in air freight services, Maersk can manage time-critical, oversized or high-value freight transportation in a dedicated fashion. By combining the speed of air with the cost savings of other modes, customers will be able to reduce inventory and improve their service offerings by fast response time at an affordable price. As a global leader in shipping services, Maersk operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 76,000 people.