With dense and multimodal transport connections, qualified and multilingual staff, well-developed freight networks and its central geographic location, Belgium has become one of the most important logistics hubs in Europe for several of our member companies.
Located at the heart of Europe, Belgium is ideally positioned as a logistics hub. US companies play a role in Belgium’s logistics network by investing in distribution centers and bolstering exports. For example, Pfizer’s European Logistics Center, which has been located in Zaventem for more than 30 years, was fully renovated last year. From this hub, Pfizer ships two-thirds of all its production worldwide before it reaches patients.
“The choice of Zaventem is no coincidence. Belgium is simply the most logical choice because of its location in Europe. Sixty percent of Europe’s purchasing power is within a 550 km radius of Zaventem.” - Kim Sandell, Site Leader, Pfizer NV/SA
Johnson & Johnson has also concentrated its European distribution centers in Belgium. Its sites in La Louvière, Beerse and Courcelles collect and distribute the company’s medicines and medical devices produced at its various European sites. VF, a branded clothing manufacturer, has recently equipped its European distribution center in Sint-Niklaas with telescopic conveyors. FedEx is investing €100 million in TNT’s sorting system at Liege Airport, and the company is considering to make the airport the unique interconnection between TNT and FedEx’s activities worldwide.
US companies are confident about Belgium’s logistics capabilities, which were ranked sixth worldwide in the World Bank’s 2016 Logistics Performance Index. For Belgium to further consolidate its top position in logistics, all levels of government should further facilitate labor market flexibility – such as allowing night work – and reduce labor costs, improve mobility and build an efficient public administration that would simplify clearance processes in customs.
Indeed, international companies that produce, sort, distribute and export expect their goods and packages to be shipped rapidly, safely and efficiently. Air transport is particularly essential to sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, biotechnology, food and e-commerce as they transport valuable and time-sensitive goods.
AmCham Belgium is proud of Belgium’s achievements in logistics and recommends a coherent vision to revamp the country’s mobility and infrastructure. The international business community in Belgium is ready to work with all parties involved in preserving Belgium’s leadership in logistics.
Photo credit: Flickr/Thomas Hawk