Amazon says it plans to open a new warehouse in Alberta that will use robotics to help pick, pack and ship small items such as books, electronics and toys.
The company says the warehouse will create more than 1,000 full- and part-time jobs.
The warehouse is to be built in Parkland County, Alta., west of Edmonton, and is expected to open next year.
Amazon says the robotic smart systems will help employees in their tasks at the warehouse.
This will be the second fulfillment centre in Alberta, with the first being in the Calgary area.
Vibhore Arora, the regional operations director for Amazon, said there will be a wide range of job opportunities at the centre including operators, technicians and safety leaders.
“Typically, the misnomer is if it is a robotics centre, you have to be a technical person with a technical background to be able to get a job there,” he said. “That is not the case. We focus heavily on training so anybody who is willing to get trained can actually get one of these operations jobs.”
Arora said the construction of the company’s warehouse in Leduc in 2020 created 700 construction jobs and anticipates the new Parkland facility will do the same.
Amazon started using robotics at its warehouses in 2012. The company employs more than 3,600 people in the Prairies and has invested more than $600 million in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Arora said having the fulfillment centre in Parkland County means customers in the Edmonton area will likely see delivery speeds improved.
“If you are a customer in Alberta and you are ordering something, which is in … one of the two fulfillment centres in Alberta, it will get to you quicker versus if you order an item that’s in Toronto or maybe it’s an (out of stock) situation in Alberta,” he said. “This is the latest generation of our robotics technology at this new fulfillment centre. We will have millions of products in that building.”
Amazon also announced it would be donating more than 200 robot kits to community groups in the Parkland Count area to encourage continued learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Premier Jason Kenney said in a news release that the centre shows a vote of confidence in the province’s economy, highlighting it will create thousands of jobs.
“This is exciting news for Alberta,” he said. “As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, high-tech investments like this will continue to get people back to work as we diversify and look towards the future. Thank you to Amazon as well for the generosity you’ve shown to community groups in Parkland County with the donation of 200 robotics kits to support STEM learning.”
Last week, Amazon said it will purchase power from a massive new solar farm in Alberta, marking the e-commerce giant’s second renewable energy investment in Canada.
Amazon signed a deal to buy up to 400 MW of electricity from Travers Solar, a $700-million, 465-MW project southeast of Calgary.
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