Amazon expands Flex delivery program to more than 35 cities in India

Amazon said on Thursday it has expanded its Flex delivery program to more than 35 cities in India, one of its key overseas markets, as the e-commerce giant looks to scale its delivery capability to service the growing number of orders.

The e-commerce giant, which completed seven years in the country this month, launched the Amazon Flex delivery program in India last June. At the time, the program was available in three cities.

Amazon Flex allows individuals to help the company deliver packages to customers. The company said “tens of thousands” of students, homemakers and others have joined the program in India in the past year and supplemented their income.

These individuals earn between Rs 120 ($1.58) to Rs 140 ($1.84) per hour. The company said the expansion of Amazon Flex to more cities will enable it to scale its delivery workforce and service customers more efficiently.

“Amazon Flex partners enjoy the part time opportunity to earn more, especially at this time when the country is economically recovering from the impact of the nationwide lockdown,” said Prakash Rochlani, director of Last Mile Transportation at Amazon India, in a statement.

Amazon and its chief rival in India, Walmart’s Flipkart, were severely hit when New Delhi announced a nationwide lockdown and prevented the e-commerce firms from servicing non-essential orders. India has since eased restrictions and both the firms have restored much of their services.

But in recent months, Amazon delivery people and warehouse workers have expressed severe safety concerns as COVID-19 spread more widely. In April, Reuters documented such fears shared by an Amazon Flex delivery driver.

The safety of these Amazon Flex partners “remains our top priority, and we are taking the right precautions, and have implemented a series of preventative health measures,” said Rochlani.

Amazon has been looking to aggressively expand its delivery workforce in India in recent weeks. The company said last month that it was looking to hire 50,000 seasonal workers. The company last year created 90,000 additional seasonal jobs, an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch, but it did so ahead of the festival Diwali, which sees Indians spend lavishly.