Since two years Brussels Airport is implementing a new strategy to play a key role as intercontinental air cargo hub. Compared to other transport sectors, air cargo provides an exceptional added value to our economy. Worldwide cargo development has a growth potential that is much higher than our domestic economic growth rate, which means that it can be a driving force for economic growth and job creation in our country.
Attracting and rooting international forwarders and airlines is the cornerstone of the new strategy Brussels Airport develops with regard to air cargo. Their commitment to our national airport is furthered by providing them with a state-of-the-art logistics infrastructure tailored to their specific needs. In total The Brussels Airport Company and its various partners will invest over € 200 million:
- The Brucargo West project includes the construction of three large cargo buildings in the period 2009-2013. Together they represent a surface area of 70,000m² of highly specialised storage space – the equivalent of 14 soccer fields – and accompanying office space.
- The central office building “Brucargo 706” will be entirely renovated in the course of 2013 – 2014 and will provide over 50,000 m² of office space in the very heart of the cargo area. The presence of airlines, forwarders, customs and other government agencies under the same roof guarantees a permanent, high-quality service to all Brucargo users.
- The 30-year old buildings in the “Brucargo 2010” area, the usage contracts of which are running to an end or have already ended, will be thoroughly renovated or pulled down and replaced by modern cargo buildings. By 2016, this will provide a total of 50,000m² of brand-new, specialised buildings for logistics activities.
- Near Brucargo West there is room for two big handling buildings with direct apron access. The construction of these buildings is planned in the period 2014 – 2016. Together they will represent a surface area of 48,000m².
- Earlier this year, the Flemish Government and The Brussels Airport Company invested in an access road from Brucargo to motorway E19, allowing trucks to directly access or exit the motorway efficiently and in all safety.
- The “Brucargo Secured Gateway” concept aims at optimising the entire logistics process for the inbound and outbound cargo, its storage and the loading and unloading of aircraft in the safest and most secure conditions. This includes faster and better controlled processes through the use of integrated data processing and simplified customs procedures. The Brucargo zone is gradually being turned into a secured access-controlled area.
The commitment of numerous shippers, forwarders, airlines and handlers to Brussels Airport helps our country to become an international hub for specialised shipments including valuables, dangerous goods and perishables such as vegetables, fruit and flowers. Brussels Airport is particularly focusing on the transport of pharmaceuticals, which are expected to become even more important to international air transport in the decades to come. In doing so, Brussels Airport at the same time supports the pharmaceutical industry, a sector in which both Flanders and Wallonia are highly rated in Europe. These investments too, which focus mainly on security, and the thorough attention paid to preserving the cold chain for refrigerated shipments, contribute to a long-term engagement to our economy and constitute the main attraction for our existing and future airfreight partners.
The impact of these investments will become apparent particularly in the medium term and when the economy starts to recover, but already today Brussels Airport is doing noticeably better than most neighbouring cargo airports due to this new strategy.
Arnaud Feist, CEO of The Brussels Airport Company: “Since two years we have succeeded in binding international forwarders to Brucargo, and for the first time we see that even major shippers/end users are establishing themselves at the cargo airport itself. In spite of the worldwide crisis that affects air cargo, carriers are attracted by the presence of many specialist partners at Brucargo and the markets they open as well as by the cargo infrastructure we provide. Globally, growth potential in air cargo is estimated at an annual 4% until 2020; in Europe we expect 2 to 3 percent. Our new cargo strategy is intended to allow us to match this growth rate. During these 8 years, the development of our cargo activities should allow us to firmly position our airport and our country in the European cargo landscape while at the same time creating 3,000 additional jobs. That is why, over the next five years, we and our partners plan investments to an amount of over € 200 million.
Moreover, a sound cargo activity is essential in providing new direct long-haul destinations for passengers: that too is an activity with high added value for our economy and employment in a wide range of sectors.”