Amazon to Build Robot-Powered Fulfillment Center in Shreveport

SHREVEPORT, La. — In the new Netflix movie The Mitchells vs. the Machines, high-tech robots take over the world. In Shreveport, high-tech robots will soon be working alongside their human counterparts at a $200 million fulfillment center announced today by Seattle-based retail giant Amazon and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

At the 650,000-square-foot facility in the Hunter Industrial Park, proprietary robots will be used to speed up certain tasks as workers pick, pack and ship books, toys, electronics, household items and other customer orders. Forget long walks to distant shelves because robots will move the shelves to wherever they need to be.

The state’s economic development group predicts the site will employ more than 1,000 workers. Compensation starts at $15 per hour plus benefits. The project could also create more than 800 construction jobs and another 1,000 permanent indirect jobs.

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Construction will begin immediately on the facility due to open in September 2022.

Amazon, owned by multibillionaire Jeff Bezos, purchased robot maker Kiva Systems in 2012 for $775 million and has been using the technology to create efficiencies ever since. The company has built more than 50 robotics fulfillment centers worldwide – and more are on the way. This is the first in Louisiana. 

“This new Amazon project is a major advancement for the Shreveport-Bossier City metro area and for Louisiana’s economy,” said Edwards in a press release. “In addition to providing strong benefits, Amazon will pay workers double the minimum wage or more in a state-of-the-art technology environment. … Through partnerships with our elected officials, economic development allies and utility partners, we are proving that great things are possible in Louisiana when we make smart plans for the future.”

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Amazon said Shreveport is a perfect location because it’s near lots of other placers. Surprisingly, 20 % of U.S. residents live within a 500-mile radius of the city which makes it appealing to distribution and logistics companies. 

“Amazon may be a global business, but it’s made up of small businesses and communities. From the local jobs we bring, to the local people we employ, train and upskill – our business is made up of people from communities like Shreveport,” said Amazon Regional Director of Operations William Hicks. “We’re thrilled to be able to expand our operations in Northwest Louisiana and we look forward to becoming part of the fabric of the local community.”

The Amazon robotics fulfillment center in Shreveport is the largest of seven Amazon facilities operating, announced or under construction in Louisiana. The state is offering the company a $5 million performance-based grant payable in two installments during 2022 and 2023. In addition, the Caddo Parish Industrial Development Board is negotiating a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the company.

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Now someone just needs to make sure they install a kill switch …

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