Monday, 29 July 2019
The Brussels-Antwerp axis has been the beating heart of Belgian logistics for several years now. What makes this region so successful? According to Goodman’s Development and Real Estate Manager Jorn Bruyninckx the axis boasts a unique mix of assets.
First of all, the corridor between Antwerp and the capital is ideally situated in the so-called Golden Triangle (Antwerp-Brussels-Ghent). Moreover, this zone is located in the logistical heart of Western Europe: the Benelux countries, France and Germany constitute a huge and busy market. That is why in the future the Brussels-Antwerp axis is bound to retain its key position in European logistics.
Access to railway and shipping
An asset that the A12 and E19 motorways share is their multimodal accessibility. The A12 intersects with arterial roads such as the N16 in Puurs that links Mechelen (i.e. the E19 motorway) with Temse and the E17 motorway with Ghent. But that’s not all: the region is also easily accessible by rail and the nearby Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal and the container port of Willebroek provide an excellent connection with the port of Antwerp. The connection of the E19 with Brussels Airport also provides access to air transport.
Rich industrial past
In the past cities and municipalities along the axis have put a strong focus on economic activity. “The Rupel region around Boom has a rich industrial past, with the brick industry as the most famous example”, says Bruyninckx. “The traditional industries gradually succumbed, creating room for more modern industries. As the supply of available space is not unlimited, it is up to us to renovate and modernise brownfields. Today, the technological requirements for such a modernisation are so great that investments in this regard are absolutely crucial."
The local administrations of Puurs, Willebroek and Boom saw the potential of the region and reserved certain zones for new logistical activities. As a result, the favourable infrastructure has attracted quite a few middle-sized and large companies. “In terms of road infrastructure, a plan was developed some considerable time ago to link up the A12 and E19 motorways in Kontich-Boom. Extending the existing N171 regional road and linking it to the A12 will add another asset to an already impressive package.”
Large available workforce
The accessibility and infrastructure of industrial estates also plays a major role in the ability to recruit staff. “The areas around the A12 and E19 harbour enough labour resources. After all, population density in Belgium - and specifically in the province of Antwerp - is high. The challenge for the future is to offer these people a reliable public transport network. Bus lines that guarantee a smooth flow of traffic, the tram line on the A12 that’s been on the table for years... There are a lot of plans in this regard but additional initiatives will be required”, Bruyninckx concludes.