A first milestone in an 11 million-euro Swissport International project which kicked off in JAN 19 and will through run to 2021, was proudly achieved after just 10 months of construction work, and ceremoniously opened on 23 OCT 19: Swissport International’s state-of-the-art Pharma Center for temperature-sensitive cargo shipments.
Amongst the distinguished guests at the opening, was Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Development Cooperation, who stated in his speech: “In the new Swissport Pharma Center, two important Belgian assets come together, our unique location in Europe and a traditionally strong pharma sector. Belgium is the second largest pharma exporter in Europe and no airport in the world has a better-quality track record in temperature-sensitive transport of pharmaceutical products than Brussels Airport. I am convinced that the new Swissport Pharma Center will further boost these important Belgian assets.”
Located next to Swissport’s existing air cargo facility in the northwest of the airport in the Belgian capital and covering an impressive total 3,620m², the new Swissport Pharma Center offers 2,620m² (three times the amount of space than was available prior), for the handling of pharmaceutical products requiring a temperature range of +15°C to +25°C, while an additional 1,000m² is dedicated to shipments needing to be stored at between +2° to +8°C. It features eight dedicated truck docks, enabling a seamless cool chain during the transfer of containers and pallets to the warehouse, regardless of the outside temperature. That cool chain extends from delivery to the warehouse all the way through to the point at which the cargo is loaded into the aircraft, thanks to the facility’s automated material handling system comprising 432 rack and ground positions, caster decks and associated forklifts and pallet movers – all of which are exclusively operated in the highly-sensitive pharma area, ensuring efficient and safe handling.
“We are delighted to be able to serve our customers at this state-of-the-art facility for their most sensitive products,” Luzius Wirth, Executive Vice President Europe, Middle East & Africa of Swissport International said. “We can now provide a seamless, high-quality service from the trucks to the aircraft cargo hold. The Swissport Pharma Center at Brussels Airport will play a key role in our growing global network of temperature-controlled warehouses. We are excited to contribute to a thriving Belgian Pharma Valley.”
The seamless truck-to-aircraft service will be extended to all products once the project is completed, as the new facilities will boast a total of 47 truck loading bays landside of the warehouse, and so-called “speed gates” airside. Swissport International signed a 20-year lease contract for the warehouse space which will eventually span 25,000m². The 11 million euros are being invested in interior fittings such as an automated material handling system and special cooling installations, a new four-story office building (due to be completed in the autumn of 2020), new forklifts, cargo scales, cleaning equipment and break rooms. State-of-the-art is the aim, as is ensuring that the Brussels facility is seen as a safe, healthy, and motivating place to work by the circa 2,000 Swissport Belgium employees, who annually handle more than 550,000 tons of air freight.
CargoForwarder Global presented the specifics of the facility in an exclusive pre-opening report published on 29 September following a visit (Archive). A computer-animation of what the entire project will look like once completed, is available for download here:
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