“Wallonia is the only region within the banana eligible for structural support from the EU”
CEVA Logistics handles a steady flow of goods from an unassuming building at Brucargo, ideally positioned 50 meters from the tarmac, one of 23 sites in theBenelux region. It is not a household name outside of the logistics business, but chances are high that you have something that has passed through CEVA’s care. Perhaps an Xbox or a bottle of medicine…
CEVA Logistics was formed in 2007 by the merger of Eagle Global Logistics and TNT Logistics. The merger, which combined EGL’s strong presence inAmerica and the Asia-Pacific region with TNT’s large European network, created a logistics service provider with a global reach. “We are very proud of our American heritage,” says Bruno Verlinden, Sales Director at CEVA.
Bruno describes the ‘logistical banana’, a region that sweeps down from the Southeast of England to Belgium and the Netherlands, stretching in the middle to encompass Paris and the Ruhr, before tracing an arc from Milan to Madrid. This, common wisdom has it, is where Europe’s purchasing power is concentrated. And for that reason, it is also where many companies decide to locate their distribution centers.
Belgium, Bruno says, is well placed in the logistical banana. Moreover,Wallonia is the only region within the banana eligible for structural support from the EU, which makes it very attractive indeed. But for CEVA, it’s not only about location.
According to Chris De Smet, Security and Compliance Manager at CEVA,Belgium also offers a comparative advantage with its system of fiscal representation. This allows companies which don’t have a physical presence inBelgium to nevertheless custom clear their cargo here through a designated fiscal representative. Fiscal representatives can stand in for any party in the transaction.
When it comes to facilitating trade however, what is perhaps more important today than fiscal representation is certifications. The September 11 terrorist attacks ushered in a new era of security procedures not only for passengers, but also for cargo. New regulations on both sides of the Atlantic have forced companies to beef up the safety and security of their supply chains.
Simply put, governments are more concerned now about what is coming into their territory. More screenings typically mean more delays at the border. This is where certification can help.
The US, for instance, has created the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program, which is similar to the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program. In fact, there has been mutual recognition of these designations between the EU and US since May 2012. Companies with these certifications benefit from expedited processing at customs using so-called green lanes.
Looming on the horizon is EU Regulation 185/2010. Chris explains this regulation mandates 100% screening of air cargo. After April 29, 2013, all cargo must either come from a known consignor or be screened, which adds a significant expense at costs up to €0.12 per kilogram.
The incentive then to work with logistics providers that have these various certifications is obvious, especially for those companies engaged in transatlantic trade.
Another clear trend in logistics is specialization. While CEVA is the world leader in logistics for the technology and automobile industries, it has also developed expertise in healthcare. This is particularly important for serving the Belgian market, where the pharmaceutical industry accounts for more than 10% of exports.
The healthcare industry has special needs in terms of logistics which can vary across the different subsectors (medical devices, diagnostics, biotechnology, etc.). For example, certain medicines might need to be handled in temperature and humidity-controlled facilities.
In Belgium, CEVA is the sole transport company for fellow AmCham Belgiummember GSK Biologicals, which produces vaccines that must be handled under strict conditions. It also provides an end-to-end logistics solution for Janssen Pharmaceutica (Johnson & Johnson) that includes operating its new distribution center in La Louvière.by Daniel Pyster, Communications Manager, AmCham Belgium Source: AmCham