WFS had the honour of the first ribbon cutting ceremony of 2019 at Brussels Airport last Friday (1 February) with the opening of its new warehouse in the development zone Brucargo West.
The construction was built by logistic real estate developer Montea. The total investment was €6 million. With the new infrastructure Montea set a milestone at Brussels Airport, exceeding a euro 100 million portfolio comprising 130,000 m², said the company’s CEO Jo De Wolf. “Brucargo accounts for 10% of our total portfolio.” Apart from Brussels Airport, the airport focussed company is also present at Liege Airport, AMS Schiphol as well as Paris CDG.
Mr De Wolf opened the facility together with WFS Executive VP - Cargo EMEAA John Batten and Brussels Airport CEO Arnaud Feist. The latter welcomed this new expansion of the airport’s cargo village, especially as it plays into the customers’ need for tailor-made efficient and modern infrastructure.
E-commerce and pharmaceuticals
The new off-airside WFS facility is Brussels Airport’s first new handler’s warehouse in 19 years and the previous one was also set up by WFS, Regional VP Marc Claesen told CargoForwarder Global. The company will use the 9,400 m² facility plus 1,440 m² offices to support its e-commerce and pharma business.
The new building offers cooling facilities between +2° and +8° as well as between +15° and +25° Centigrade. As for e-commerce, over the last few years WFS has noticed that a growing number of freight forwarders bring in volumes that are e-commerce driven.
In pharmaceuticals logistics, WFS was certified within the IATA CEIV Pharma scheme last year. “As we are moving this business from the old 829 to the new 831 building the accreditation will have to be renewed,” said Mr Claesen.
The new facility can already boast an ‘A’ rating issued by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), which is regarded as the highest security standard in the logistics industry. On top of that, WFS will add a GDP (General Distribution Practices) certification.
Another new facility for on-line customers
Being land side, the new building will accommodate both classic freight forwarding volume handling and off-line airline business. “For example, volumes coming in and going out by truck for off-line customers such as NCA and JAL, which are both operating at AMS,” says Mr Claesen.
Even if the investment was entirely Montea’s with WFS taking a long-term lease, the company had to invest in its pharma handling business. “For our processes we had to invest in training as well
as in permanent temperature mapping of the cooling system. This enables us to communicate with our customers on the status of their consignments.”
As for its on-line customers, WFS will most certainly be able to move into 25,000 m² of a total of 50,000 m² of airside new built Brussels Airport Company is putting up, to be inaugurated later this year. The other part will be taken by Kuehne+Nagel and Expeditors. The new infrastructure is badly needed as the capacity of the present airside building 712 is dramatically tight. “The next new facility will enable further expansion for us as well as for our customers,” says Mr Claesen.
More handling capacity to come
Steven Polmans, Brussels Airport Company’s Head of Cargo and Logistics points out that in recent years, several new buildings have been constructed at Zaventem Airport for forwarding agents such as DHLGF, Nippon Express or Panalpina. He reminds that DHL Express also opened a large state-of-the-art sorting center. But the WFS facility offers “the first additional handling capacity since many years, something which was very much needed,” emphasizes Mr. Polmans.
He went on to say: “With also dnata preparing to open up their operation in the next few weeks, followed by a new vault for valuable handling and a new animal inspection and care center and the start of a new 50,000 sqm handling warehouse first line, we will be able to add a considerable amount of new and modern handling capacity at the airport.” This will benefit BRUcargo’s customers and enable further growth in the years to come.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels