December 18, 2017: One of the largest airports in Europe, Brussels Airport had a good run in cargo segment. On December 7, the terminal passed the milestone of handling 5,00,000 tonnes of cargo.

According to a press release from the company, this is for the first time since DHL Express moved their European Hub from Brussels to Leipzig.

“Although not an all-time high, this is a symbolic milestone for us and our cargo community. Since 2008, our volumes dropped under 5,00,000 tonnes, and in 2013 we were even flirting with the 4,00,000 tonnes. But in the last 4 years we have seen an overall growth of over 25 percent in our flown volumes, ” says Steven Polmans, head of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels Airport.

The note further says, while growth was seen in all segments, the primary driver for the year to date growth of 9.5 percent comes from the cargo in the bellies of the passenger aircraft. This segment grew by 13 percent, followed by integrator traffic (+9.9 percent) and traditional full freighter uplift (+6.6 percent). Especially exports out of Brussel increased considerably in 2017, fuelled by strong economic performance in Belgium and Europe. The biggest increase was noted on lanes to South America and Asia.

Next, to the 5 lakh tonnes flown cargo, the BRUcargo area also handled more than 1,40,000 tonnes of local cargo being trucked to or from other European hubs. This brings the BRUcargo volume forecast for 2017 close to 7,00,000 tonnes of air cargo. For next year the airport is expecting solid growth figures again. Some airlines have started their operation only at the start of the 2017 winter schedule, such as Hainan to Shanghai or a second daily Emirates flight to Dubai. The airline will see new customers such as Cathay Pacific and Amerijet in the coming year.

To cope with this growth, the airport is finalising a major expansion plan for the cargo area including a new warehouse, additional apron space and the introduction of a third handling agent. The tender process is ongoing and the outcome is expected to be formally announced mid Q1 of next year. Other projects next year to facilitate cargo handling and increase the efficiency are the slot booking system for all truck movements at the cargo zone and the pooling of airside handling equipment.

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