On December 7, for the first time since DHL Express moved their European Hub from Brussels to Leipzig, Brussels Airport passed the milestone of 500,000 tons of flown cargo. “Although not an all-time high, this is a symbolic milestone for us and our cargo community,” says Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels Airport. “Since 2008, our volumes dropped under 500,000 tons of cargo and in 2013 we were even flirting with the 400,000 number. But in the last 4 years we have seen an overall growth of over 25% in our flown volumes.”
While growth was seen in all segments, the main driver for the 9.5% boost this year comes from the cargo in the bellies of passenger aircraft. This segment grew with 13%, followed by integrator traffic (+9.9%) and traditional full freighter uplift (+6.6%). Exports out of Brussels increased considerably in 2017, fuelled by strong economic performance in Belgium and Europe. The biggest increase was noted on lanes to South America and Asia.
As well as the 500,000-ton flown cargo, the BRUcargo area also handled more than 140,000 tons of local cargo being trucked to or from other European hubs. This brings the BRUcargo volume forecast for 2017 close to 700,000 tons of air cargo. Solid growth figures are also expected next year.
To manage this growth, the airport is finalising a major expansion plan for the cargo area including new warehouse, additional apron space and the introduction of a third handling agent. The tender process is ongoing and the outcome is expected to be formally announced mid Q1 of next year.