By Erin Delmore
For Gov. Chris Christie, a chance to see the fruits of his labor — an agreement signed five years ago yielded the latest physical footprint of a digital giant.
This Amazon fulfillment center in Carteret is the largest in the state at more than 1 million square feet and with more than 10 miles of conveyor belts.
“We have more than 2,000 associates working here and on average we ship more than a million units every week from this wonderful facility,” said Chris Cooper, general manager at the Carteret fulfillment center.
The Carteret building is Amazon’s seventh in the Garden State. Thirteen thousand New Jerseyans call the biggest of big box stores their employer. There are three more centers on the way in Cranbury Township, Edison and Logan Township. That’s 25,000 new full-time jobs.
“To be back here and to be able to see the fruits of what we started five years ago, by coming to what at that time was a groundbreaking agreement across the country with Amazon about how to grow jobs in the state and how to help Amazon meet its mission. It’s a unique mission that it has in the economy of our country, is something that I’m really proud to still be able to be here to see,” Christie said.
Amazon’s made waves moving merchandise. The digital storefront once known for its book sales ships everything from craft supplies to lighting equipment. Its grocery offshoot, AmazonFresh, ships meat, veggies, butter, cups. But while product moves in and out at lightening speed, this Carteret location is seconds off I-95. Moving employees in and out of headquarters is proving more challenging.
“The location here is tremendous for the operations and distribution but one of the issues they always face in all the different warehouses along here is there are 7,700 employees and 220 businesses within a two square mile area here. Transportation is an issue for their employees and they know that for recruitment, they know that for retaining these employees. So we’re working with them with Keep Middlesex Moving to provide incentives for carpools, mass transit, bicycle/pedestrian safety issues to provide a safe and efficient and effective way to get the people to and from their workplace,” said Bill Neary, executive director of Keep Middlesex Moving.
Christie touted the state’s falling unemployment rate, saying few of a governor’s successes come to fruition during his or her time in office. Expect to see more of the governor shoring up his legacy before his term expires in January.