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The sustainable development of the cargo zone in 5 questions

€100 MILLION FOR 100,000 M2 OF ULTRA-MODERN LOGISTICS BUILDINGS

  • energy
  • waste

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR CARGO

Brussels Airport’s cargo zone is Belgium’s 2nd most important logistics hub and a crucial driver of economic growth. To provide even better support to the companies that import and export goods, the airport is investing in sustainable renewal and expansion of this zone.

Between 2009 and 2013, we added 3 large air freight buildings to Brussels Airport. Today, they’re being used by companies such as bpost, DHL Global Forwarding, Abbott and a number of specialised logistics companies. But there is still growth potential. That’s why Brussels Airport is investing about €100 million in new logistics infrastructure over the next 3 years.

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WHAT DOES CARGO SPECIALISE IN?

Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo & Logistics, explains the importance of the investment: “We are currently experiencing a great need for handling and cold storage space. In particular, the demand for controlled temperature storage is bigger than the supply. We can’t grow without suitable buildings.”

“But that doesn’t mean that we just put up buildings haphazardly. Before we do anything, we always study the possible effects on our surroundings. And environmental impact is central to the business philosophies of all of our partners. You see that, for example, in the new generation of cargo aircraft that they use, such as the Boeing B777F and the Airbus A330F. There are hardly any old, converted passenger planes at Brussels Airport. Moreover, our logistics partners must meet strict noise and environmental standards − just like the airline.”

Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo & Logistics, is ultimately responsible for all activities in the cargo zone, including infrastructure. Jeroen Govers, Head of Real Estate, is responsible for the commercial management and development of all non-airside property.

To reduce the impact on the environment, it’s essential to keep full control over new buildings. That’s why Brussels Airport decided not to grant any commercial (land) rights for the projects that are planned, but to develop the buildings itself. This enables the airport to take the appropriate measures quickly and efficiently − without depending on external parties.

WHAT KINDS OF COMPANIES DOES BRUSSELS AIRPORT WANT TO ATTRACT?

Did you know that a tenth of all Belgian exports come from the pharmaceutical industry? Whether it’s cold chains, smaller warehouses or faster transit routes − the growth of sectors such as pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and fresh products has an influence on Brussels Airport's construction policy. But that’s by no means the only consideration.

Jeroen Govers, Head of Real Estate, explains: “Our strategy is threefold: we design logistics buildings so that they are in line with the market standards, but without limiting their actual function. Of course, we do consider the type of players that we expect to attract to Brussels Airport. And certainly with new buildings we can make special adjustments, but that also requires extra commitment from the users. For example, we recently designed the new border inspection post for live animals − in other words, the Brussels Airport Zoo.”

Our goal? Stimulate growth and reduce the impact on our surroundings

Steven Polmans,
Head of Cargo & Logistics

“We always determine the structure of a building together,” adds Steven. “The knowledge comes from both Cargo & Logistics and Real Estate. Now take ‘The Zoo’, as we call it. Cargo & Logistics itself provided a lot of expertise during that project, because we have good contact with the end-users. Jeroen and his team can then translate those requirements into design requirements. Our goal is the same: provide as much quality property as possible at Brussels Airport and guarantee the best possible occupancy.”

NEW CONSTRUCTION OR RENOVATION?

“Here at the airport, we look at the need for new construction or renovation building by building and over the long-term − that’s part of our Strategic Vision 2040,” Jeroen says. “Renovation often has a smaller impact on the environment, because demolition creates a lot of waste that has to be disposed of. Plus, you consume a lot of building materials in the new building itself.”

“When we renovate, it’s because the building is still structurally sound and has potential. But even then we look at how we can make the building more sustainable: solar panels, water recuperation, and insulation − we include such innovations in every project. Of course, our permit applications must also always meet the latest energy requirements.”

“Furthermore, the types of buildings that we construct are becoming more sustainable,” adds Steven. “We’re increasingly evolving towards larger, divisible buildings. They’re more economical, easier to insulate, and better for the user. Just take a look at Brussels Airport Cargo West.”

Cargo West

Cargo West

50,000 m2 of ultra-modern logistics space − the new building will house 3 large handlers and logistics players. The infrastructure will be specifically suited for handling high-quality and temperature-sensitive goods (such as pharmaceuticals). The works on Brucargo West should be ready by 2020.

Vault

Vault

In 2019, Brinks will move into the new building with highly secured spaces for the transport of particularly valuable goods. The Vault will have a beautiful green roof that will provide improved insulation, more biodiversity and a nicer working environment.

Swissport

Swissport

Over the next 3 years, the building which is occupied by handler Swissport will be systematically converted into a modern and energy-efficient storage and office space. It covers a total area of 30,000 m2. Brussels Airport will also renew other existing handling facilities that have direct access to the tarmac.

Zoo

Border inspection post (or ‘the Zoo’)

An inspection post of more than 2,000 m2 will be installed, with various temperature and/or light zones, for the temporary accommodation and transportation of various animal species.

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