Amazon to build its first robotic and largest fulfilment centre in Australia

It's expected to be the same size as 22 rugby fields.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Amazon

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has announced it will build what it is touted to be its largest fulfilment centre in Australia.

To be built at Kemps Creek in western Sydney, the new storage and distribution centre will measure almost 200,000 square metres, which according to Amazon, is equivalent to the land size of Taronga Zoo or 22 rugby fields, and be able to house up to 11 million items.

Amazon said it would be the first centre in the southern hemisphere where the company's "latest robotics systems" is deployed.

"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," Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller said.

"We look forward to creating more than 1,500 jobs, the majority of which are permanent full-time jobs, with the opportunity to work alongside advanced robotics to deliver the ultimate in service for customers."

The fulfilment centre is expected to be in operation by the end of 2021.

The building of this fulfilment centre will be in addition to the 50-plus robotic fulfilment centres Amazon has around the world. 

See also: Robots are changing the face of retail in 2020 (TechRepublic)      

It will also bring the total number of Amazon fulfilment centres in Australia to five. The e-commerce giant opened its first Australian fulfilment centre in Melbourne in December 2017, followed by centres in Sydney and Perth in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced it would be opening another fulfilment warehouse in Brisbane.

A recent report by the ABC identified how employees of Amazon Australia are constantly being monitored and timed to fulfil orders, with one describing the working conditions as being so extreme it made them feel "dehumanised". 

"I feel like they resent the fact that I'm not a robot and that I'm made of flesh and bone," the person identified as Amazonian 1 said. 

Meanwhile, David Gallagher, who is on workers' compensation, was denied unpaid leave twice over a course of a month by Amazon, as reported by ZDNet's sister publication, CNET. He was only granted leave once CNET had contacted Amazon.

Last year, the company dismissed claims that its warehouses would be fully automated any time soon.

Amazon robotics fulfilment director Scott Anderson told reporters that there was a "misconception" that the e-commerce giant would be able to run fully robotic warehouses soon.

"In the current form, the technology is very limited," Anderson said. "The technology is very far from the fully automated workstation that we would need."

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