Thursday, August 18, 2016

Amazon Signs Up for South East Fulfilment Centre as Logistics Battle for Distribution Space Continue

Port of Tilbury Gains Prime Home Delivery Tenant
Shipping News Feature
UK – Home delivery giant Amazon is to open at the Port of Tilbury what may possibly end up as the largest warehouse in the country, as a fulfilment centre for London and the south east. The new unit will be situated in the London Distribution Park (LDP) which is under construction close to the M25 for owners Forth Ports and Roxhill Developments. At 70 acres LDP encompass 11 acres of hardstanding for haulage vehicles with room for 1 million+ square feet of warehousing, with the only tenant so far being Travis Perkins with around a tenth of that. The centre will be equipped with the latest and most advanced Amazon robotics technology which launched earlier this year in the UK at Amazon’s fulfilment centres in Dunstable and Doncaster.

The automated systems see the robots slide under a tower of shelves where products are stowed, it then lifts and moves them through the fulfilment centre rather than staff picking individual items. Amazon says robots help speed order processing time and reduce walking time by moving the shelves to employees, reducing the time taken to stow items for sale or pick them for new customer orders. They also save space, allowing 50% more items to be stowed per square foot. Commenting on the announcement by Amazon today, Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports said:

“This is great news for the port and for the Thurrock area, we are delighted that Amazon will be based at London Distribution Park (LDP). By basing itself at London’s major port, Amazon will save time and money and capitalise on our prime south east location and our excellent, well established logistical connections to the UK market.”

Forth Ports are understandably delighted at the news as competition for distribution space in the area is fierce with the new Logistics Park at DP World’s rapidly expanding London Gateway port just a few miles distant. Developers Rohill’s managing director Jason Dalby observed:

”This is excellent news for LDP. The strategic location adjacent to the port of Tilbury is a major asset for businesses and we welcome Amazon to the development. LDP is currently the largest ready to go industrial development site closest to the M25 on the market. We have already secured Amazon and Travis Perkins and we continue to see an increase in the number of businesses looking for distribution centres located in or near a busy port.”

Amazon announced earlier this month it will also open a new fulfilment centre in Doncaster in summer 2017, creating 500 new full-time permanent jobs and says it has now invested more than £4.6 billion in the UK economy to build and run its UK business since 2010. Amazon currently has ten fulfilment centres in the UK, including two in Doncaster and one each in Dunfermline, Dunstable, Gourock, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rugeley and Swansea Bay. In the autumn, two new fulfilment centre with open, in Manchester and Coalville, Leicestershire, creating 1,500 new permanent jobs over three years. The new fulfilment centre in Manchester will also use Amazon robotics technology.

Across the UK, Amazon plans to have more than 15,500 permanent employees by the end of this year at its UK Head Office in London; three Research and Development (R&D) Centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London; its Customer Service Centre in Edinburgh; 12 fulfilment centres across England, Scotland and Wales; 29 delivery stations nationwide; the Fashion Photography Studio in Shoreditch, and to run the Amazon Web Services (AWS) UK Data Centre Region. Amazon will open a brand new London office in 2017 giving total capacity for 5,000 people. John Tagawa, Amazon’s Vice President of UK Operations commented:

“We are excited to announce that we will be opening our 13th fulfilment centre in the UK in Tilbury in spring 2017 to enable us to continue to expand our product selection, support more third party sellers including small businesses with our fulfilment expertise and meet growing customer demand in the UK. We are delighted to be creating more than 1,500 new permanent full-time jobs with competitive wages and comprehensive benefits starting on day one.”

Permanent employees at the new fulfilment centre will receive competitive pay which rises to £9 per hour after two years’ service in the greater London area. All permanent fulfilment centre employees receive competitive pay and are given stock grants, which over the last five years were on average equal to £1,000 or more per year per person. Fulfilment centre employees also receive a comprehensive benefits package, including private medical insurance, a company pension plan, life assurance, income protection, subsidised meals and an employee discount.

Amazon will later this summer begin recruiting for a range of positions for the Tilbury fulfilment centre, from operations managers to engineers, HR and IT roles to people who will handle customer orders. People interested in applying should click HERE. Amazon also runs an innovative programme called Career Choice that provides fulfilment centre employees funding for adult education, offering to pre-pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for nationally recognised courses, up to £8,000 over four years.

Photo: An artist’s impression of LDP and its position in the hinterland of the Port of Tilbury.