Brussels Airport forges new cargo community organization

Brussels Airport, still recovering from last month’s terrorist bombings at its passenger terminal, has strengthened its cargo operations with a new cargo community organization, called “Air Cargo Belgium.” The new entity, launched April 18, groups all companies under the less formal “BRUcargo” platform, along with any related stakeholders or official organizations, to create a more cohesive unit “with more possibilities, budget and leverage,” the airport said.

There have been several organizations formed at Brussels Airport that group together certain parts of the logistical chain, such as airlines or forwarders. These groups, the airport said, continue to exist to serve different needs to the cargo community, but also participate in the overarching Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) entity. In its mission statement, Air Cargo Belgium said its main ambition is to represent the entire air cargo community and make BRUcargo the most attractive, efficient, innovative and successful logistical platform.

The chairman of the new organization will be Steven Polmans, head of cargo at Brussels Airport, supported by two vice chairs: Alain De Heldt, current chairman of the Belgian Air Freight Institute (BAFI), representing forwarders, and Bas van Goch, the current chairman of the Air Cargo Managers Association Belgium (ACMAB).

“Although we facilitate where possible and try to take the lead in several topics, it is the cargo community and the different companies at BRUcargo that make the difference. Without them, nothing happens,” Polmans said. “With this new organization, we can work even closer together in improving our cargo area to the benefit of all… With the enormous support we got from the industry in recent months when setting up this new organization, I feel very comfortable we will succeed together.”

“With ACB, we are strengthening our forces in all aspects, respecting the full air cargo community, sharing the same agenda and bringing added value to the market,” said De Heldt. “I feel confident that we are just at the beginning of a great development where quality and expertise are key.”

ACMAB’s van Goch said he “believes in a strong bond between airports, forwarders, handlers and airlines,” and that, together, each stakeholder can “tackle the challenges that we have,” such as the electronic air-waybill conversions and “ready-for-carriage” delivery. “Geographically we are in the middle of ‘Airfreight Europe’, with several airports very close to us,” he added. “If we all come together, with a joint target, we can make sure to keep Belgium as a center for air freight, both for on-line and off-line airlines.”

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