\\"In Lead Up to Prime Day, Amazon Ramps Up Room for 2-Hour Delivery Service"

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With as many as 67 fulfilment centres (FC) across 13 states in India, and a storage capacity of over 20 million cubic feet, Amazon India says it is now has the largest warehousing capacity among all e-commerce firms in the country.

That apart, the company has created a whole new wing of forward logistics providers, which basically are small-format warehouses within a city for two-hour express deliveries. Amazon now has 17,500 such ‘I Have Space’ stores across 225 cities and 350 service partners in 320 cities.

The bolstered backend logistics will help the company when it launches its 36-hour-long global sale exclusively for its ‘Prime’ members on July 16.

Prime Day is Amazon’s global flagship event created for more than 100 million Prime members in 17 countries, including India. This year, Amazon has added countries like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia and Singapore to the list of places where it will would be held.

“Prime members in India can enjoy over 200 exclusive product launches, thousands of deals at the lowest prices of the year and blockbuster entertainment launches on Prime Video and Amazon PrimeMusic,” said Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country manager, Amazon India. The company has a total of 340,000 sellers across the country.

According to industry experts, Amazon India might, by the end of this year, occupy more than 30 million square feet of real estate in the country. Its biggest rival, Flipkart, according to sources, has around 41 warehouses. Officially, the company has not revealed the number of warehouses it has in India.

Amazon follows a mixed model of real estate ownership which includes both leasing and buying spaces. Insiders believe Amazon could soon be on a par with some of the biggest software companies in India in terms of real estate take-up.

Some time ago, the American retail giant started small-format warehouses in Indian cities for launching faster deliveries. On Prime Day, the company will launch a two-hour express delivery service on the back of ‘I Have Space’ warehouses.

“This programme handles a significant proportion of our vast logistics volumes in India’s small towns and metro cities,” the company said. Under the programme, local store owners are required to deliver products within a two-to-four-kilometre radius of their stores, which also double up as pick-up points for customers residing in the neighbourhood. On an average, partner stores deliver about 30 packages a day, while earning a fixed amount per delivery in return.

Experts believe that the next phase of expansion would come from taking up space for new data centres. In 2016, Amazon launched its first set of India data centres in Mumbai to cater to cloud computing services.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is planning to take up more space for setting up data centres. At present, it has over 80,000 companies using AWS cloud. Amazon, with close to 50,000 employees in India, is also rapidly expanding its office space.

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