June 23, 2020 / 3:51 PM / 15 days ago

MercadoLibre to kick off ops in Brazil's 3rd distribution center in July

SAO PAULO, June 23 (Reuters) - Latin American e-commerce group MercadoLibre will kick off operations in its new fulfillment center in Brazil’s Northeastern state of Bahia in July, the company said on Tuesday, as more customers have been shifting to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

The facility, which will be its third distribution center in the country, is part of a previously announced investment of 4 billion reais ($776.29 million) in Brazil this year, the Argentina-based company added in a statement.

“The opening of this distribution center in Northeastern Brail is very strategic for us to improve customer experience in our marketplace. We seek to deliver even faster and at lower prices,” said Leandro Bassoi, vice-president of MercadoLibre’s logistics arm in Latin America.

The new fulfillment center is just outside Salvador and has 35,000 square-meters. It will start operating with 50 workers, but may employ as much as 500 when it reaches maximum capacity, according to the e-commerce company.

MercadoLibre’s efforts to expand its logistics framework comes as competition intensifies in Latin American’s largest market as local players boost their marketplace platforms while U.S. rival Amazon.com also bolster its operations.

In December, almost a year after launching its first in-house fulfillment center, Amazon.com announced plans to open a new distribution center in Northeastern state of Pernambuco.

$1 = 5.1527 reais Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by David Gregorio

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