Amazon’s new fulfillment center is the largest building in Ottawa
Amazon’s newest and most technologically advanced fulfillment center in Canada has opened in Ottawa.
It’s massive, full of robots and expected to be a huge economic driver.
The installation looks like a scene from a science fiction movie. Five thousand robots sort, scan and move more than 20 million items locally, across Canada and around the world.
Amazon’s most advanced fulfillment center, YOW3, has opened in Barrhaven and is home to three special robots.
‘Robin’, a robotic arm with the ability to capture, manipulate, identify and place packages into a ‘sortbot’ that moves items from one department to another. ‘Kermit’, a trolley that focuses on towing around empty containers, and ‘RWC4’, a large robotic arm that sorts bags by destination and builds pallets for delivery.
“The idea behind the technology is to make work safer for our team,” says YOW3 CEO Jawad Kamani.
“In addition to that, what we’ve been able to do is really compact the land space that we have in Amazon’s big fulfillment centers. By bringing in technology, we can go into urban areas, we can go into an area like this. The neighborhoods are closer, the associates are closer to the building and it allows us to be closer to our customer.” .
Make no mistake, at more than 2.6 million square feet – that’s four Ottawa Senators hockey arenas – this is the largest building in the city. There are 12 kilometers of conveyor belts to transport packages to their destination, for sorting, storage or shipping, in a facility that operates 24 hours a day.
YOW3 is one of only five fulfillment centers in the world, and the technology used here does not eliminate jobs. In fact, this facility will help create more than 2,500 opportunities in the capital region.
“As smart as robots are, they’re a bit clumsy, so they need constant human interaction,” says YOW3 employee Basim Aftab. “And because of that, there’s a harmonious exchange between robots and humans throughout the facility, which you’ll see end to end.”
Harsh Khaitan, regional director of Amazon Canada operations, says there are more than 1,500 associates working in the building now and more than 300 more are expected to be hired this week.
“We are recognized by our community as an employer of choice and that is our goal,” Khaitan said. “I would like to hire more, especially in certain shifts. We are looking for more people, but we are seeing a lot of interest.”
Despite the labor shortage across Canada, Khaitan adds that Amazon continues to hire workers with a focus on competitive wages, which range from $19 to $21 an hour along with benefits.
For more information on Amazon job opportunities in Ottawa, visit www.amazon.com/ottawahourlyjobs.
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