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How Belgium’s and Flanders’ air cargo industry is taking pole position
Talk about flying high… Last year, Belgium’s and Flanders’ air cargo industry transshipped around 1.63 million tons of air cargo. That’s more than comparable airports in the neighboring Netherlands, which together locked in at 1.58 million tons. According to air cargo expert and consultant Franz van Hessen from ACG-Europe, the success of the Belgian airports stems from a combination of factors, including digitalization and multimodal collaboration.
Doing smart things
In a recent interview with sector magazine Nieuwsblad Transport, van Hessen shared his high opinion of the Belgian airports – the largest of which is Brussels Airport in Zaventem (in Belgium’s northern region of Flanders):
“The Belgian airports are doing smart things in terms of digitalization, implementation of process-supporting customs rules and cooperation between airports and seaports. They are also working hard on community-building, which they do terrifically well.”
Franz van Hessen, air cargo consultant, ACG-Europe
Building cargo communities
Zooming in on Brussels Airport, the air cargo consultant further points out how the airport “has built up a huge cargo community and is continuously initiating innovative process improvements.”
The air cargo community he is referring to is none other than Brussels Airport Company’s Brucargo freight area, a vibrant ecosystem of industry and logistics players backed by the innovation-driven cluster organization Air Cargo Belgium.
A penchant for highly sensitive cargo
What’s more, as Flanders’ main international airport, Brussels Airport is one of the region’s most important centers for economic growth and an important intermodal hub. In particular, when it comes to the transport of pharma, biotech and health products, Brussels Airport is one of the leading players around the globe.
As the first airport cargo community ever to have received the ‘IATA Excellence in Pharmaceutical Handling’ certificate, Brussels Airport is also home to dedicated infrastructure for products requiring an unbroken cold chain. For instance, it has over 30,000 m2 of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical warehouses, the most of any European airport.
In addition, numerous operators within the local cargo community specialize in the handling of pharma & life sciences air cargo shipments. It should therefore come as no surprise that, from 2021 onward, the airport turned into one of the main hubs in the world’s COVID-19 vaccination supply chain.