Limited freighter flights resume at Brussels

Brussels-big_0A day after terrorist attacks brought Brussels Zaventem Airport to a standstill, express carriers and forwarding firms at the airport got the green light to resume cargo operations on Wednesday, although flights are being carried out under contingency plans.

Passenger flights remain shut down through at least Thursday as authorities continue their forensic investigation, but the airport’s main cargo zone, BRUcargo, is located offsite, 4 kilometers away from the passenger terminal, and was not directly impacted by the attacks. Still, forwarders anticipate delays in shipment lead times as they continue to resume operations at the airport.

Major forwarders Panalpina and Keuhne + Nagel both have significant operations at Brussels and quickly put contingency plans in to effect following Tuesday’s attacks. A spokesperson for Keuhne + Nagel Belgium told Lloyd’s Loading List on Tuesday that its contingency plans could include “re-routing air freight to other airports.” However, by Tuesday evening it seemed like the need to re-route packages would be minimal. A statement issued on K+N Belgium’s website reassured customers that the company would be “fully contactable tomorrow [March 23] as normal and will continue to provide our full range of services services via the Kuehne + Nagel network, although in some cases it is expected that lead times from Belgium may differ from normal.”

Panalpina issued a statement that its operations would be affected as long as BRUcargo remained shut down, but now that BRUcargo operations have resumed, it remains to be seen how quickly the forwarder’s operations will return to normal.

BDP International had also taken precautions to avoid major delays for its customers. The forwarder reported that it had been working with its “core carriers” (Air France-KLM, Qatar Airways and AirBridgeCargo) to allocate additional space on flights into neighboring Amsterdam. BDP recognized the Dutch-capital as the most logical alternative for Brussels-bound shipments from the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region until operations could resume as normal.

Like the forwarders, express carriers, including FedEx, TNT Express and DHL, which have operations at the airport, are also expecting delays and service interruptions in the coming days. In a statement on its website, FedEx said that while “operations and deliveries in the Brussels area and near the airport may experience some disruptions due to government security measures,” it expected the impact to be “minimal” for its other operations across the region.

DHL had not updated its position since Tuesday but assured customers that operations at its other major hubs in Belgium were not affected and that it would re-route Brussels shipments as necessary to avoid delays.

TNT did not comment on the scale to which its operations would be affected. However, the express company said that customers would be informed on a case-by-case basis about how their shipment would be dealt with via the Track and Trace page on TNT’s website.

  Like This Post
Current Issue Magazine Cover
Sign Up Email List