About Distribution, Warehousing For The Future?
By JOHN M. DERBY
July 20, 2017
Amazon announced the opening of a major distribution center
in Fresno recently, our first thought was: “Why not
in our county?"
We have one of the best locations in all of California for
a warehousing and distribution center, and it is not being
In fact, considering some inside sources, we are led to
believe that those people who are supposed to be out looking
for potential businesses to fill places like Castle Commerce
and Development Center, and other sites, are not doing an
The old Walmart distribution site sits vacant after five
years of legal haggling. Merced was supposed to gain 600
good paying jobs from this distribution center which got
bogged down in the courts. Nothing happened and nothing
has happened since.
Castle sits waiting for development since 1995 when the
former Air Force base closed. There was a glimmer of hope
when UPS was looking for a new location, but the politicians
in Sacramento would not allow one of their biggest employers
go. Our understanding is that benefits were offered to keep
UPS in Sacramento while local efforts went unnoticed.
A key to Castle’s future is the airport capacity for
large air freight carriers. FED X is now buying its own
airplanes to handle an increase in distribution which is
coming along with Internet sales.
The last thing we heard from Castle’s Development
Department was that it was looking to cut off part of the
runway. What a terrible idea! The one asset which no one
else has, and our county is thinking of doing away with
We hear repeatedly that the problem with the valley is not
that it doesn’t have the workers, but that the workers
are not educated at the level which industries need them.
Warehousing and Distribution may not be a high tech job,
nor does it require a high degree of advanced education.
And despite new robotics and drone technology, these operations
still require a lot of manpower — the kind which we
have waiting for employment here in our area.
Our focus should be in these two areas, and when the county
and city spend money on companies who are supposed to be
marketing our sites; they should require something for their
money. Evaluate what opportunities we have and seek businesses
which will use these facilities.
As a footnote, we are glad to see the City of Merced hire
Scott McBride, a man who has been a major asset to Atwater,
and should bring that kind of background to helping with
future development in the city of Merced.
One of his first jobs will be to attract businesses like
Amazon which need to build additional warehousing and distribution
centers to meet tomorrow’s demands.