Amazon is building a robotic fulfilment centre in Sydney, 'doubling' the company's footprint in Australia

REUTERS/Mike Segar/File
  • Amazon is building a robotics fulfilment centre in Sydney, which sees it double its footprint in Australia.
  • This will be the fifth Amazon fulfilment centre in Australia, which the company claims will create 1,500 jobs across robotics, IT and HR.
  • The building will span across 200,000 square metres.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is building its first Australian ‘robotic’ fulfilment centre in Sydney, the company’s latest effort to expand locally.

Construction has begun at Goodman’s Oakdale West Industrial Estate in Western Sydney and is slated to finish by late 2021. The company claims the centre will create more than 1,500 jobs, including an extra 700 jobs in construction.

More than 11 million items will be stocked at the new centre. Robots will speed up the order processing time by moving shelves to employees. They will cut down the time it takes stow items away or pick them up for new orders. The robots are also designed to save space, allowing 50% more items to be stowed per square metre.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement the jobs come “at a time when we need them most.”

“Amazon’s decision to locate its first robotic centre in the Southern Hemisphere right here in Western Sydney is another great example about what the future holds,” she said.

This will be a mammoth building, with the floor area to be around 200,000 square metres across four levels – roughly the same land size of Taronga Zoo.

Image: Amazon

Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller said in a statement, “The Amazon Robotics fulfilment centre will more than double our operational footprint in Australia, enhance efficiency and safety for our associates while ultimately providing customers with wider selection and faster delivery.

“This investment will also benefit the 10,000 plus small & medium sized businesses who utilise Fulfilment By Amazon to seamlessly service customers across the country.”

There are more than 50 Amazon robotic fulfilment centres around the world

Amazon has more than 175 fulfilment centres around the world and more than 50 robotics fulfilment centres.

The company expanded its automation efforts in the United States in 2019, rolling out machines to box up customer orders in a number of existing fulfilment centres. The jobs picture was less rosy there – Reuters reported that the robots were set to replace up to 1,300 jobs across 55 fulfilment centers.

The automation effort has been a long-term project, which accelerated back in 2012 when Amazon acquired robotics firm Kiva for $775 million.

In Australia, the company already has three fulfilment centres, including one in Dandenong, Melbourne, in Moorebank, Sydney and in Perth’s Airport precinct. More recently, Amazon announced the development of a fourth fulfilment centre in Lytton, Brisbane which should start operating before Christmas 2020.

“The project will contribute to local workforce development and provide skilled employment in areas like robotics, logistics and supply chain,” Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said in a statement.

“It will also help build our local e-commerce sector, giving small and medium-sized businesses access to Amazon’s packing, shipping, customer service and returns capabilities, along with easier access to millions of customers customers across Australia and the world.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated this was Amazon’s fourth facility in Australia. It will be the fifth.

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