Opportunities galore for Air Cargo
Benelux’s air cargo gateways make every effort to attract the attention of the global air cargo industry. A positive business environment, which includes a well-developed logistics industry, a flexible customs regime and relatively low corporation taxes have also helped the region make its mark.
The logistics market in the Benelux region remains one of the most mature and established in Europe. To a large extent, this is due to the gateway function that the region offers for the European continent. A union of states comprising three neighbouring countries in midwestern Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the region of Benelux has well-developed infrastructure and is geographically well placed to service many of the main consumer markets of Europe. “The cargo market in the Benelux region has recovered this year. We are seeing good growth in all three markets – Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. I see a lot of potential in these markets. It is an easy place to do business. Multinationals are very comfortable here. Customs procedures are very open. And of course, it has very good roads with no tolls; it also has Europe’s largest seaports in Antwerp and Rotterdam and Europe’s largest air cargo airports as well,” explains Jason Breakwell, key accounts manager, Wallen Born. Wallenborn provides road feeder services (RFS) to airlines, freight forwarders and logistics providers and are based at the three gateways – Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg. It provides scheduled network of RFS to 100 destinations; many on a daily basis connecting the gateways of Benelux to the rest of Europe. “It is important to know that the Benelux region in itself is not a production area. So the Benelux performs a gateway function to Germany and East Europe and Southern Europe. Hence, the growth in Benelux will depend on what happens in these three regions,” explains Enno Osinga, senior vice president at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. All the countries in the Benelux have been focusing on improving services for the pharmaceutical industry. And Osinga believes Benelux will strengthen its position in the next few years by focusing on these specific high quality facilities. Among the various advantages lie certain niggling issues affecting the air cargo market in the Benelux. Overcapacity remains one of the major challenges apart from night curfews and noise abetments. “For the moment, the air cargo market in the Benelux faces an overcapacity problem. We are 5-6 very important airports in the industry and each of us are fighting for the same fish in the same pond,” said Marcel Buelens, CEO, Ostend Bruges Airport.