Amazon opens new pick-up hub in Nunavut capital

“With competition, better services and prices will come for all,” says Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell

Amazon customers in Iqaluit can now pick up their orders at a special hub, located near the Iqaluit airport. Operated in collaboration with Canadian North, the hub is expected to shorten the delivery time on orders from up to 20 days to as few as three days. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Jane George

A new pick-up hub in Iqaluit is giving Amazon customers speedier deliveries.

The company says the new service will allow for deliveries in days, rather than weeks, and will help customers can avoid long lineups outside of the post office.

Amazon has partnered with Canadian North to use cargo space on flights coming from Ottawa on Wednesdays and Sundays, according to Kevin Kablutsiak, the senior director of communications for the airline.

“They asked us to set up a hub, so that’s what we did,” he said.

The hub, which officially opened Dec. 17, is located at the Canadian North warehouse near the Iqaluit airport.

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell welcomes the service.

“Of course, we should support local when possible, and I think most people already do,” he said.

“But with competition, better services and prices will come for all.”

Amazon ships an estimated 200,000 parcels per year to Iqaluit. Bell said he’s not concerned the hub will increase the amount of cardboard waste coming to the city.

“The cardboard and packing is already here,” he said. “This just makes it faster to get here and doesn’t really change capacity.”

The Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce said in a statement about the opening of the new hub that it “supports any growth in business as well as revenue diversity that will benefit Iqalummiut.”

“The chamber understands that there is a need to access goods that are prohibitively expensive or not available in our community,” said chamber president Robynn Pavia.

“However, we are strong advocates of local business and artists with our Shop Local initiative as well as the development of entrepreneurs with our Small Business week activities.”

In a news release, Adam Baker, Amazon’s vice-president for global transportation, said the company understands the need to provide deliveries to the community “quickly and at an affordable cost.”

“It’s been in operation for a little over a week, so we are seeing that parcels are actually being delivered within that three to five day time frame,” he stated.

The service is available to all Amazon Prime members at no extra cost.

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by The secret is out on

    But but but I thought the Iqaluit Twitterati said Amazon was going to pull out as soon as they found out about free shipping to Iqaluit?? It’s almost as if they didn’t know what they were talking about…hmm

    • Posted by Bert Rose on

      Free shipping? Get serious. Shipping is built into the sales price

      • Posted by Every business does that on

        I think you missed the point of his comment, but every business builds in overhead cost into the sales price. The only difference is that, for some reason, Amazon charges the same price for Iqaluit customers as they do for Toronto customers. We get it even cheaper because they have to pay provincial tax over it.

  2. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    Why just Iqaluit, why not the rest of Nunavut too? It is really is not fair… Our food and other goods prices are just as bad or worse than Iqaluit….

    • Posted by Auslander on

      One thing I’ve learned through my years in Nunavut, there is no shortage of snow, rocks, and things to complain about.

    • Posted by StaySafe on

      Amazon Prime can deliver to Iqaluit because it has a major airport with full cargo facilities and regular jet service. Those are dedicated cargo jets of high-capacity. Only Rankin Inlet has similar capacity. Amazon costs to deliver depend on the infrastructure. Alaska has the same issues. Amazon is a private company and can decide which locations qualify for Prime. Government has no regulatory ability to say otherwise, or Amazon would withdraw entirely.

  3. Posted by okay on

    It is ironic that Amazon has done more to relieving food insecurity in Iqaluit than any of the government programs. I hate to think this, but Amazon (I am not a fan of ) should have access to nutrition north so they can try to help out other northern communities.

    • Posted by Oh ima on

      I wouldn’t say they done more in terms of food security or made any real dent! Most of the people that order from Amazon are not suffering from food security! Majority of the marginalized people (Inuit) don’t have access to internet let alone to a credit card!

      • Posted by naysayers on

        i know a lot of people and myself included have ordered just a bit more than we need on amazon and donate the extra. amazon has made it very affordable to donate the extra to food banks, etc. and that guy who was doing the food hamper, michael murphy i think his name was. didnt he buy all the cereals and other stuff from amazon because they were not prohibitively expensive. i remembered a news slot ran a few years ago where he had his own special corner at the post office because of the amount he ordered through amazon and then gave it away to so many in need. so amazon have somewhat help with food insecurity than nutrition north.

        as for the comment about why its not the rest of nunavut. on CBC, it mentioned amazon is trying iqaluit first and is open to the idea of other communities in the future.

        • Posted by okay on

          I am not in Nunavut anymore after almost two-decade but I think most people have a credit card. I even had a We card then and I know the Coop was also doing a credit card for its members. I was able to help more people under the old food mail program than with Nutrition North. I hope local businesses may get the resources to offer a similar program as Amazon in other communities. I have to give credit to Amazon, but I wish it was not Amazon, that was making the difference – but that is life!

  4. Posted by Good for Everyone on

    This will be great for people waiting for PO Boxes. Post office is letting a lot of people down by not making more available and ordering Amazon through General Delivery is sketchy.

  5. Posted by pissed off on

    The Amazon phenomena is great for those who know the ropes, have access to computers and credit cards and all.
    Amazon is the largest retailer in the world. Pit that against the retailer in Iqaluit ( or anywhere else for that matter) who has to deal with the REAL costs of operating in the North, lack of a reliable workforce and all the other stuff.

    Some will enjoy the ride but you will wait for a long time for another retailer i to be foolish enough to open something new in Iqaluit.

    Who can outlast the richest company in the world?

    • Posted by Better customer service? on

      I would shop at amazon even of the cost was the same as stores in Iqaluit. Not all, but too many store owners have treated customers like garbage for years because they can (or could). Every time a new business opens up in Iqaluit people say “wow it feels like we’re down south!” because the owner and staff didn’t seem bothered by your presence or say something really weird.
      Don’t get me wrong there’s a few businesses with a long history in town that I love to support, but most of the time I’d rather punch myself in the face than step foot in certain stores. Even NorthMart will sometimes have a really helpful manager working the floor, but how long is he here for? And when he leaves will his replacement give the store another makeover because he didn’t like were the TVs were shelved?
      If your store is bleeding money in Iqaluit, you must be doing something wrong. People spend money here like they have 24 hours to live.

  6. Posted by Local businesses step up on

    I hate shopping local here. As a rule it is terrible service, terrible selection and price gouging. It is always a surprise when going south or Ottawa when you are reminded how much better shopping experiences are elsewhere in Canada.
    The marginalized or uninformed who don’t use online shopping subsidize local businesses when they should be stretching their dollars further. Most local businesses have no competition and no incentive to improve, well good to see the only real barrier to me ordering more amazon is gone and I can skip local shopping on everything but perishables. For that I’ll stick with southern companies also, since local quality is subpar and prices often unreasonable. I guess I’ll only be buying gas, produce, milk and eggs locally now.

  7. Posted by Jack Napier on

    Now we just need Amazon to open a greenhouse in capital city to secure the territory’s sustenance.

  8. Posted by Wild horses on

    I’ve lived in Nunavut for 7 years, the last 3 in Iqaluit; the 4 previous years, a ways NW of here.
    I’m as happy with the quality and prices of groceries at Co-op and Northmart during that time as with any regular supermarket down south.
    I’m equally happy with the service. And I’m a fuss-bucket
    I’ve eaten lots of local food ttoo; and bought a fair bit of equipment-new and used
    Though there might be marginal good derived from Amazon, mostly it feeds a lot of gluttony, a lot of jealousy, and a lot of greed

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