Amazon to build up presence in Poland

Kerry Person, Director of Operations at Amazon Polska, shared the information that the Seattle retail giant plans to expand its presence in Europe, including Poland, as PAP (Polish Press Agency) informs.

Although Polish customers are still waiting for a Polish-language Amazon site, the company has been present in Poland for some time. Amazon started investing in Poland in 2014, launching two centres, followed by the third one in 2015. The three logistics facilities (which Amazon calls “facilitation centres”) serve Central and Eastern European markets, and were built with Amazon.de customers in mind.

The centres, located near Poznań (in Sady) and Wrocław (in Bielany Wrocławskie), currently employ more than 4,500 permanent staff members, and seasonally expand their workforce for the busy holiday season to over 6,000 people. As Mr Person indicated, up until now Amazon has invested more than 2 billion PLN in Poland. This number is soon to change, as the company has just announced it will expand their staff base and keep investing in the existing facilities. There is also some talk of new locations to be opened in Poland.

The American corporation has over a hundred distribution centres globally, and 29 hubs in European Union alone. The Polish distribution centres are to serve the German market, as well as other growing markets in the region. Amazon decided not to build their centres in Germany, choosing the more cost-friendly Poland and Czech Republic instead, causing some uproar from the German workers fearing losing their jobs. As for now, Amazon announced no plans to close any of its European facilities.

The Wrocław facility is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. Earlier in December it was announced that the centre handled more parcels than any other Amazon distribution hub. It was possible due to introduction of robotic shelves allowing for quicker completion of orders and dispatch of parcels as well as saving of room and better use of warehouse space. Currently, such automatization is present only in the US facilities of the e-retailer.

Still, not all things seem to be on the right track for Amazon. The company faces some criticism with regard to working conditions from current and former staff members, which include comments on low pay and high levels of work pressure. In December, a street protest took place in Poznań.

Amazon sees a lot of potential in Poland. However, no plans were revealed of launching a Polish language version of the online store.