Amazon trebles Australian occupancy with robotic Kemps Creek warehouse

Amazon’s first Australian fulfilment centre at 29 National Drive, Dandenong South (outlined).

Amazon today trebled its Australian industrial occupancy, announcing the pre-commitment of an automated fulfilment centre in Sydney’s west.

Amazon Robotics, under construction at the $1.5 billion Oakdale West industrial park in Kemps Creek, will include 200,000 square metres over four floors.

On 1.5 hectares, it is configured with 1148 parking bays for cars and 64 for bikes.

Construction is anticipated to require over 200,000 nuts and bolts and some 13,500 tonnes of steel – 30 per cent more than was used for ANZ Stadium.

The end value has been estimated at $500 million.

Due for completion late next year, about 1500 people are expected to work there.

Coincidentally, the other occupier to have pre-committed at Oakdale West, Coles, is building a state-of-the-art, almost fully automated factory, too.

Largely because of the technology, its warehouse, it is speculated, will be worth $1b.

Automated centre set to be Amazon’s largest in southern hemisphere

Amazon operates 175 fulfilment centres around the world – nearly a third of them automated.

The Sydney property will be its largest of this kind in the southern hemisphere – able to store some 11m items.

It is forecast to distribute some million products daily.

Master-planned for an 89ha parcel, 39 kilometres from the city, Oakdale West is owned by Brickworks with Goodman Group.

The latter also rented Amazon a 43,000 sqm warehouse in Moorebank – about a 15 minute drive from Kemps Creek, in 2018, and last year at Perth Airport (9000 sqm).

Earlier this month the same landlord signed the online business up for a c14,400 fulfilment centre in Brisbane’s Lytton.

The occupier chose a 24,387 sqm Pellicano warehouse in Dandenong South, south east of Melbourne, for its first Australian fulfilment centre, in 2017 (story continues below).

Machines not replacing humans: Amazon

The Oakdale West warehouse, part of the Oakdale Industrial Estate, is set to be one of the most advanced Amazon Robotics facilities in the world.

“Robots help speed order processing time by moving shelves to employees, thereby reducing the time and efforts taken to stow items for sale and pick them for new customer orders and creating a more pleasant work environment,” an Amazon statement added.

“They also save space, allowing for 50 per cent more items to be stowed per square metre.

“Amazon Robotics will offer a diverse range of job opportunities in a high-tech, industry-leading workplace ranging from IT, HR and robotics professionals, to associates who will work collaboratively with robots, to pick, pack and ship smaller items such as books, beauty products, electronics and toys to customers.

“This upcoming building will be Amazon’s second fulfilment centre in western Sydney, increasing its capacity to fulfil customer orders as the business continues to expand in Australia.

“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, added the Kemps Creek property “will also benefit the 10,000 plus small and medium sized businesses who utilise Fulfilment By Amazon to seamlessly service customers across the country,”

Since introducing robots in 2012, approximately 300,000 full-time jobs have been added by Amazon globally “disproving the misconception that machines are replacing humans in the workforce”, it said.

Project comes “at a time we need it”: Gladys Berejiklian

CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics department negotiated the Kemps Creek rental agreement.

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said “Amazon’s decision to locate its first robotic centre in the southern hemisphere, right here in western Sydney, is another great example of what the future holds”.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, added “the project will contribute to local workforce development and provide skilled employment in areas like robotics, logistics and supply chain. 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 across Australia and the world”.

Goodman Group general manager, Jason Little, said the site is close to a large consumer population, transport links and the future Western Sydney International airport, “making it accessible for faster deliveries both now and in the future”.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the sod turning event last Wednesday to mark construction of Amazon’s Lytton, Brisbane, fulfilment centre.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco