DHL Global Forwarding has converted part of its general cargo warehouse at Brussels Airport into additional capacity for its growing Life Sciences & Healthcare segment.
Thanks to the conversion, the original 1,750 m² of temperature controlled warehouse area have been expanded with another 3,550 m². DHL-GF’s current Brucargo facility opened in January 2013,
bringing all its sites on Brussels Airport under one roof. “That has made us the largest single forwarder complex at Brucargo,” says Director Airfreight David Bellon. “From the very beginning we
were resolved to offer GDP certified cooling facilities in three categories: +15°-+23°, +2°-+8° and deepfreeze (-2°). As it turned out, the ‘+15-+25’ segment proved to be a fast grower, adds
Operations Director Charles De Vuyst.
“We are the leading company in the handling of life science and healthcare products at Brussels Airport and want to keep setting the standards in that segment,” David says. “Our overall current airfreight export market share is at 26%, making us the market leader. Given the fact that a lot of volume is flown by non-CASS airlines, among which is our sister company DHL Aviation, or pass through our in-house broker StarBroker, our share is even larger.”
Centre of knowledge
DHL Global Forwarding also obtained the IATA Pharma CEIV certification at Brussels Airport. David: “Within DHL-GF we have up our own standards for the correct handling of pharmaceutical products, called Thermonet. Brussels was the first station worldwide to be certified in the DGF network. Since then, the Brussels facility has always been a leading competence centre within DGF. We believe however, that GDP/CEIV certifications on top confirm we are doing the right things.”
The steady volume growth was generated by both existing and new customers. On top of that, some of the DHL-GF stations in neighbouring countries ship their dedicated pharma consignments from Brussels Airport, David remarks. “We believe it is a clear commitment also to Brussels Airport in its efforts to grow in that particular industry.”
Additional pallet positions
In this niche, DHL-GF also offers value-added services, especially in providing transport packaging solutions that guarantee the temperature integrity of the shipments.
By extending the temperature-controlled area of its warehouse in Brussels, the company added 1,524 pallet positions to the existing 900. The facility can also boast an in-house X-ray screening system.
It is operated by Securitas, which also provides sniffer dogs. “On the physical side, it is part of our policy to keep as much as possible in our own hands: security, storage, packing, building pallets and ULDs if possible. Only this will allow us to guarantee an unbroken chain from shipper to consignee,” notes Charles.
Apart from the pending license to be granted by the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), the Brussels facility is also TAPA A and is a ‘full’ Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). As a Regulated Agent DHL-GF distinguishes between ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ consignors. “For the latter, we are able to provide security so that he can meet the European regulations,” says Charles.
The expansion programme was a very speedy one, the manager concludes. “The decision was taken on 18 December 2016. Building started in the last week of February. The converted building was delivered on 20 April.”
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels