The strategic importance of Belgium for the logistics operations of US companies has increased over the past five years, according to new research by the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (AmCham Belgium), and these companies plan to continue investing in the country over the coming years.
“Belgium is a logistics gateway and an important hub in the global supply chains of many US companies,” said Marcel Claes, Chief Executive of AmCham Belgium. “Although often overlooked, the logistics sector is essential to the functioning of the modern, globalized economy – and volumes are only increasing.”
Logistics activities have a substantial economic impact, directly and indirectly. US companies with logistics operations in Belgium are deeply integrated in a local ecosystem, collaborating with other businesses of all sizes and creating jobs at all skill levels.
- The logistics sector generates 7.6% of GDP and 8% of total employment in Belgium
- 65% of US companies surveyed value Belgium as very or extremely important for their logistics operations
- 56.4% of survey respondents report that the strategic importance of Belgium for logistics has increased over the past five years
Location is the most important consideration for US companies investing in logistics. Belgium, in this regard, is ideally situated to provide a gateway service: companies move goods and materials through its world-class ports and airports en route to European and global markets. While Belgium is a leading handler of both containers and breakbulk, the country distinguishes itself from competitors with its expertise in logistics for specific industries, such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals & petrochemicals, and food & drinks.
For example, Kim Sandell, Managing Director at the Pfizer Logistics Center in Zaventem, has noted: “Our Logistics Center handles more than 60% of Pfizer’s worldwide product flow. Pfizer runs a large part of its international logistics operations from Belgium – from the delivery of raw materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients to the shipping of finished medicines. I am convinced that Belgium’s greatest strengths are its skilled workforce, its central location and its dense transport network via air, sea and road. There is a lot of expertise in supply chain and logistics in this country, both in our organization and at our partners, like Brussels Airport and the Port of Antwerp.”
In addition to its location, Belgium’s workforce and transport network are key attractions for US companies, but logistics operators are particularly sensitive to labor market and mobility challenges. “With the opportunities that come from growing volumes and new technological developments, we encourage the Belgian Government to keep the logistics sector top of mind as it pursues further labor market reforms and plans new infrastructure investments,” added Claes.