Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

Imports and Exports in Belgium – Freight Forwarding Keeps the …

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The Belgium economy is expected to show growth of 2% in 2011, according to the latest forecasts, which is good news for freight companies, which keep a close eye on economic trends as more trade means more freight forwarding business. 2010 also saw a growth in Belgian GDP of 2% as well as a slight fall in unemployment and a reduction of the public sector deficit, so the outlook for Belgium is looking good, following a rocky couple of years in 2008 and 2009, which had many a shipping company and freight company concerned about the prospects for international freight.

Despite being a very small country, Belgium punches above its weight in international freight. In fact, Belgium is one of the the top ten largest trading nations globally.Belgium is a modern nation and its economy is based on private enterprise.
Most industry is centred in the Flanders region in the North of the country, which is the most heavily populated area.

Belgium does not have many natural resources and so it imports a large quantity of raw materials, so this accounts for a large proportion of the inward bound freight transport.This dependence on importing raw materials does make Belgium somewhat vulnerable to fluctuations in world markets.

Belgium’s high level of freight services reflects its central location within the European Union and approximately three quarters of all its trade is with other European Union countries. Of these, Germany accounts for the lion’s share of exports, accounting for nearly 20% in total, with France at 17%, Netherlands 12%, the UK 7% and Italy 5%. The United states of America accounts for a further 5%.

The main industries in Belgium are engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, scientific instruments,processed food and beverages, chemicals, petroleum, glass and textiles.

The most important exports from Belgium are machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metal products and foodstuffs.

One of Belgium’s most well known exports among the general public is chocolate, with Belgian chocolates synonymous with quality. Certain freight companies are well geared up to provide the conditions required for safe freight forwarding of perishables such as fine chocolates.

Meanwhile, the most important imports are raw materials, machinery and equipment, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals and oil products.

Most imports by freight transport come from the Netherlands, accounting for 18%, Germany accounting for 17%, France 11%, Ireland 6%, United States 6% and China 4%.

Reflecting the positive state of the economy, Antwerp in Belgium is the fastest growing port for container transport within the Hamburg – Le Havre range. As well as the sea ports at Antwerp, Belgium also has ports at Zeebrugge, Ostend, Liege, Brussels, and Ghent.

Belgium has also established an excellent freight transport infrastructure of waterways, motorways and railways.

Belgium’s massive inland waterway network connects the major Belgian sea ports to Europe’s inland waterways, which are another important facility for shipping companies. Belgium’s main rivers, the Maas and the Scheldt, and their various interlinking canals and tributaries, provide freight transport routes across the whole country. In fact, this is the second largest system of waterways in the whole of Europe and offers very efficient transport for freight forwarding.

Belgium is also leading the way in freight services with its state of the art development of the concept of combined transport. A number of container ports for inland shipping have been built and the port of Antwerp has been expanded with a tidal container dock, the Deurganck dock, which allows ships to be dealt with faster. The high speed rail infrastructure to and from Antwerp port is also being extended further.

So Belgium is continuing to develop the infrastructure that facilitates the efficient freight transport of its imports and exports, strengthening its position as a global leader in shipping companies and freight services.

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The Belgium economy is expected to show growth of 2% in 2011, according to the latest forecasts, which is good news for freight companies, which keep a close eye on economic trends as more trade means more freight forwarding business 2010 also saw a growth in Belgian GDP of 2% as well as a slight fall in unemployment and a reduction of the public sector deficit, so the outlook for Belgium is looking good, following a rocky couple of years in 2008 and 2009, which had many a shipping company and freight company concerned about the prospects for international freight

Stephen Willis is Managing Director of RW Freight Services a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating specialist freight services to and from Belgium 45

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author, 6

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