We went to take a look at Liege Airport

Last Friday, from a business development perspective, we visited Liege Airport, the airport of Liege. You might not immediately make the connection with what we do, but make no mistake, opportunities are lurking around the corner. Enthusiastic and with an open mind, we went there!

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Some of you know Liege Airport for its low-budget connections in Europe. That is part of their business, but at the same time only a limited part. Indeed, Liege Airport has become a strong strategic partner for the logistics of many companies. The transport service TNT, recently part of Fedex, has its European express hub (the central hub for time-sensitive shipments within Europe) there. More than 50 TNT planes land there every day and are in the air a few hours later. 1100 staff ensure that all express orders that arrive there are processed, and further distributed throughout Europe.

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TNT/Fedex is by no means the only partner in the e-commerce segment for Liege Airport. Other major players in cargo express land there daily. Orders (or orders) that arrive at a lot of e-commerce companies, but whose products and stock are located in China, are distributed in Europe by those players via Liege Airport. Line hauls (direct transports) are used to large e-commerce countries, such as France, Germany or emerging e-commerce countries like Spain or Italy. Returns are grouped in Liege, stored and remain there until they are sold again. Expensive return flights are thus conveniently avoided this way.

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If all the returns stay in Belgium, do those planes leave for China empty? They used to, and that caused costs to skyrocket. Filling them up seems logical, but in practice, what gets sent the other way? Milk powder. To a large extent, anyway. 4/5 of what leaves Liège for China is milk powder. The rest is filled with Western products that are increasingly popular with the Chinese. Think of makeup, chocolate, pharmaceuticals, etc.

It was impressive to see all that passes there in a day. From fresh roses from Ethiopia (apparently Africa dominates that market) to live horses, cows and even a Mclaren 570 GT. We kid you not.

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But where do opportunities lie for Liege Airport and BME? Well, in the joint approach to dossiers where e-commerce expertise is a necessity. Think, for example, of overseas parties who want to gain a foothold in Europe, who want to sell their products on the European market through a flexible and high-performance logistics process.

Liège airport's business development team does not itself organize logistics activities for companies. It acts as a facilitator between companies that land planes there and service providers that can take care of the next link in the supply chain. That's where we come in.

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We develop customized logistics processes for the customer. We provide digital integrations with their IT systems so that order flows and all kinds of communication can take place digitally. Standard processes such as product inbound, storage, pick and pack are organized and executed by us.

But it doesn't stop there. BME also takes care of assembly, personalizing orders or adding value to products through specific pack instructions. We are, so to speak, the extension of their image. Moreover, our processes can be followed up transparently via a personal BME portal. That is important, especially for parties who are distant from us.

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Now that we have been able to get extensively acquainted and know each other's sweet spot, we are waiting for the first file. As always, from the beginning we go for a qualitative approach, focusing on the substantiation of the offer, to the delivery of an optimized process. To be continued!

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