Amazon, the world's biggest online marketplace, opened its largest delivery station in Abu Dhabi as it continues to scale up operations.
The 4,700-square-metre centre — the company's second-largest in the UAE — provides same-day and one-day delivery services to its customers in Abu Dhabi.
It also comes in the lead-up to next month's Prime Day — Amazon's annual mega-sale event exclusively for Prime members — during which orders and deliveries increase sharply, the Seattle-based company said on Thursday.
The centre will create hundreds of jobs that Amazon says will help to shape the future of commerce in the UAE.
All employees will be eligible for training programmes meant at upskilling their talent to be prepared for the future of the sector, the company said.
“Built within Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem of innovation, our new delivery station brings world-class last-mile technology to the logistics and supply chain sector in the capital,” said Prashant Saran, director of operations for Amazon in the Mena region.
“The range of jobs at this facility will help to nurture the city’s talent pool and prepare them for the digital future that Abu Dhabi is striding towards.”
Amazon is the largest e-commerce player in the UAE, with net sales of about $500 million in 2021, data from ecommerceDB shows.
Namshi, the e-commerce unit of Dubai's Emaar Malls, was second with $249m while Noon, the portal backed by Emaar founder Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, was next with $169m.
Globally, Amazon is facing several headwinds, including supply chain glitches, rising inflation and the challenge of labour unions in the US, not to mention a slowdown in overall revenue.
The company reported its first quarterly loss in seven years in April and projected sluggish second-quarter sales growth as the gains it made during the Covid-19 pandemic, which supercharged the delivery and logistics sectors, started to wane.
However, the UAE presents a big opportunity for the company, with the country's e-commerce sector forecast to grow 60 per cent to more than $8 billion by 2025, from 2021, and as consumers across the region continue to shift towards online retail, according to a recent report by Euromonitor International.
Amazon's newest centre is a follow-up to its announcement in November about building the Middle East's most technologically advanced warehouse in Abu Dhabi through a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
The 175,000-square-metre site, which would be the largest in Abu Dhabi once it opens, is expected to be completed by 2023, Amazon said on Thursday.
It will also create thousands of jobs and drive innovation in logistics, as well as give local entrepreneurs and retailers access to new markets through Amazon.
“We pride ourselves on working alongside partners such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, who share our focus on innovation and providing the right resources and logistics to enable businesses and talent in Abu Dhabi to excel in the digital economy,” Ronaldo Mouchawar, vice president of Amazon Mena, said.
The Amazon-Adio partnership reflects the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi and the long-term growth opportunities available in the emirate, said Abdulla AlShamsi, acting director general of Adio.
“Amazon supports our vision for sustained investment in innovation and is bringing the latest logistics technologies to the region. The opening of Amazon’s new delivery station and planned fulfilment centre in 2023 will establish Abu Dhabi as a major global hub for e-commerce and logistics,” he said.
Amazon's new delivery centre will also serve Abu Dhabi's outer areas, including Al Samha, Al Shawamekh, Yas Island, Saadiyat Islands, Bani Yas and Al Wathba.
The company, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, continues to invest in the UAE, especially in employee safety, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amazon said it has invested more than $15bn in pandemic-related measures globally.
Earlier this month, the company announced that it would start to use drones to deliver some purchases to US customers later this year, starting in parts of California.