By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOT
There’s a battle going on in Northern Europe between certain locations to become Europe’s premier logistics location. Vying for the position is the Netherlands, Nord Pas de Calais (Northern France), and Belgium’s two regions of Flanders and Wallonia.
This AJOT reporter has toured all of these locations in depth, and most recently, Wallonia, in mid November.
With a height difference of 240 feet between the upstream and downstream reaches, the Strepy-Thieu boat lift in Le Roeulx, Hainaut, Wallonia, is the tallest boat lift in the world, and will remain so until the Three Gorges dam boat lift in China is completed. (Photo by Karen E. Thuermer)
While Wallonia often goes unmentioned in North America when speaking about logistics in Europe (for those who do not know it, it’s the French-speaking region of Belgium), the Wallonia Export and Investment Agency (AWEX) maintains that the region will become one of Europe’s most attractive logistics hubs in 2020. This claim is reinforced by a recent study by commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which places Belgium, and specifically Wallonia, at the top of its list.
Belgium, itself, fared well in the World Bank’s 2012 Logistics Performance Index, where it ranks seventh.
Helping Wallonia is the fact it sits in the middle of what is termed the “blue banana” – a phrase coined by Frenchman Roger Brunet in 1989 to describe the economic backbone of the European Union. The term was inspired by satellite pictures showing a glowing blue banana-shaped conglomeration from London to Italy via Belgium, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris.
Over 56 million consumers within a 155-mile radius are accessible from Wallonia. Over 60 percent of Europe’s purchasing power is within 310-mile radius.
But the region is taking concerted efforts to achieve its place among European logistics offerings. AWEX officials contend that their region offers multiple advantages.Read complete article on AJOT.com