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Amazon plans 3 new Ontario facilities, opens Hamilton centre

Amazon Canada has officially opened its latest advanced robotics fulfillment centre, an 885,000-s...

IMAGE: Amazon associate Louise Engalan De Los Santos (left) discusses the robotics technology at Amazon's new Hamilton fulfillment centre YHM1. (Courtesy Amazon Canada)

Amazon associate Louise Engalan De Los Santos discusses the robotics technology at Amazon’s new Hamilton fulfillment centre YHM1. (Courtesy Amazon Canada)

Amazon Canada has officially opened its latest advanced robotics fulfillment centre, an 885,000-square-foot facility near the Hamilton airport, and also confirmed the development of three additional centres across Ontario.

Amazon says the four facilities in its announcement Tuesday will combine to create over 4,500 operations jobs in 2022 and 2023. About 1,500 of those jobs will be at the Hamilton facility YHM1, which is located at Upper James Street and Dickenson Road West in Mount Hope.

The other facilities included in Tuesday’s announcement are in Ottawa, Whitby and Southwold, a community southwest of London.

“This new facility in Hamilton is the company’s most advanced facility in our network today and it’s the 1,500 employees that really make this place spectacular,” said Vibhore Arora, regional director, Canada customer fulfillment for Amazon Canada, in the announcement.

“Robotics technology helps extend the reach and capability of our team in a manner that makes tasks easier and more efficient, and make our fulfillment centres safer and more collaborative.”

Amazon’s four new Ontario facilities

The facility was developed by Panattoni‘s Canadian development arm on an 80-acre parcel of land in a district which is undergoing major industrial and warehousing growth. The Hamilton airport is one of the most important air freight hubs in the country and is located just outside the western edge of the Greater Toronto Area.

Amazon has said the distribution centre will be focused on packing and shipping large customer purchases such as sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, pet food, kayaks, bicycles and other household goods.

The company also recently opened a 50,000-square-foot “delivery station” in nearby Stoney Creek. The smaller delivery stations operate as a last-mile stage in Amazon’s distribution networks.

Elsewhere, Amazon confirmed plans for three additional facilities, but did not release any details about the exact locations, sizes or construction timelines. They are:

– Ottawa: YOW3 – robotics sortable fulfillment centre;

– Southwold: YXU1 – fulfillment centre;

– Whitby: YHM6 – sorting centre.

The Southwold note in Tuesday’s release is the company’s first public acknowledgement that it is building a facility in that area, although published reports for months have speculated Amazon will be the occupant of a large distribution centre being built at the sprawling 620-acre site of a former Ford assembly plant.

Montreal-based developer Broccolini acquired the site in 2021 and began preparation work on the property last summer. Broccolini has acknowledged only that an e-commerce company is slated to occupy the property, but the firm has been one of Amazon’s builders of choice in Eastern Canada.

RENX has reached out for additional information about the three other Ontario Amazon facilities, but has yet to receive a reply.

Ottawa and Whitby

Amazon has two large existing fulfillment centres in Ottawa and a smaller 100,000-square-foot facility which is being prepared as a robotics distribution centre for the firm. It’s not immediately known if this announcement relates to that property or a new site.

Its footprint in the nation’s capital is about four million square feet, which has all been developed over the past three years.

Broccolini owns a tract of industrial land in the city’s rural south end on which it has applied to build a large distribution centre of up to 700,000 square feet and a height of 98.5 feet. The project was challenged by local residents, but the Ontario Land Tribunal recently ruled in Broccolini’s favour.

That height could accommodate a multi-level facility of the type Amazon has occupied elsewhere in Ottawa, as well as in Edmonton and Metro Vancouver.

The sorting centre near Conlin Road and Gerrard Road in Whitby would be Amazon’s second major facility in Durham Region, just east of Toronto. It opened a million-square-foot distribution centre in neighbouring Ajax last year and is building a network of smaller facilities and stations in the area.

The global e-commerce giant has been expanding its operations across Canada at a frenetic pace during the past couple of years.

In 2021 alone, it launched 15 new facilities in Ontario, including a fulfillment centre in the GTA town of Ajax, sorting centres in Bolton, Brampton and Scarborough (all within the GTA), and 11 delivery stations from Ottawa to London and Stoney Creek.

The firm also recently put its huge new 2.9-million-square-foot, multi-level Ottawa facility into operation earlier this year.

Since 2021, Amazon Canada says it has created more than 3,000 jobs in the province with the launch of 15 new facilities. Amazon says its Ontario expansion between 2021 and 2023 will represent 19 new facilities and 7,500 jobs when complete.

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