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Amazon plans to open a delivery center in Ladson near Charleston. File/AP

Online retail juggernaut Amazon is making moves to get products to customers faster.

The Seattle-based company plans to erect a tent-structured delivery center in Ladson near the former General Dynamics plant on U.S. Highway 78 and employ 40 people, according to a site plan review filed with Charleston County Planning Department.

The company confirmed the plans and said the new facility across from the Exchange Park Fairgrounds is designed to expedite customer service.

"We are excited to continue our investment in South Carolina to speed up delivery times for customers and provide great job opportunities for the talented workforce," Amazon spokeswoman Amanda Ip said.

"This delivery station powers the last mile of our customer order process and helps speed up deliveries for customers," she said. "Packages are shipped here from neighboring Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers and loaded into vehicles to get delivered to customers."

The company did not say when the facility would open.

The site plan, approved by the county Tuesday, shows the frame-supported fabric warehouse will be 17,236 square feet with a 2,150-square-foot covered loading dock.

"The proposed use is a delivery station where tractor trailers will drop off packages, and they will be sorted and loaded into vans and/or vehicles for local delivery," according to the site plan.

The site will operate seven days a week, except on holidays. Two tractor trailers will arrive at 1 a.m. when workers will sort packages by 6:30 a.m. That's when 10 vans and smaller vehicles will leave every half hour until noon to make deliveries. A handful of workers will remain on site during the afternoon to accept returns.

Amazon has had delivery centers in large metro areas for a while, but it is now bringing them to smaller metro markets such as Charleston to lessen the time it takes between ordering and delivery.

The new centers are generally located near colleges or universities to take advantage of students who want to make some extra income by using their vehicles to make deliveries, according to an employee familiar with the process.

Elsewhere in the state, Amazon's e-commerce business has opened two distribution warehouses, or "fulfillment centers," in West Columbia and Spartanburg.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.