Brussels Airport focused on pharma

Brussels Airport says it plans to further expand its service delivery and working relationship with the global pharmaceutical industry.

The Belgian airport is continuing to invest in the range of tailored services and products it delivers to the pharma sector as one of the country’s key industries by offering the industry new infrastructure and products and integrating new technologies such as blockchain.

Brussels Airport Company chief executive officer (CEO), Arnaud Feist (pictured left) said: “As part of our cargo strategy, a few years ago already, Brussels Airport has taken the international leading position with regards to transport of pharmaceuticals and biotech, key industries of our country.

“We continue to invest heavily in logistical infrastructure that is adapted to the specific needs of pharma and biotech, and that guaranties a cold chain, vital for medicines and vaccines.

“We are also developing innovative solutions based on new technology such as blockchain, which is used on our digital platform BRUcloud, and allows all stakeholders to track in real time the route of the transported goods.”

Belgium is a major pharma hub for exports around Europe and the globe and is a leading hub in Europe and the world for medicine and vaccine exports. In 2017, proprietary medicinal products worth €40.3 billion were exported – accounting for 10.6 per cent of total Belgian exports.

This places Belgium second in Europe in terms of volume, second only to Germany, and number two after Ireland if exports are correlated to the size of the population. 12.3 per cent of all European pharma exports ship from Belgium.

“Nearly half (48.9 per cent) of these exports are intended for countries outside the European Union,” said CEO, Catherine Rutten, the umbrella organisation which represents 130 innovative pharmaceutical companies in Belgium.

She added: “In part, it is thanks to the investments of the logistical partners, such as Brussels Airport Company, that Belgium is a preferred country for pharma exports to overseas countries. Doing so also sees our country play its part in the pursuit of the global health objectives.”

“Belgium plays an outsized role in the biopharmaceutical industry, accounting for 13% of all European exports,” said Deloitte life sciences leader, Tom Van Wesemael. “The significant amount of biopharma exports and infrastructure, paired with Belgium’s high level of connectivity, make the country an attractive place for companies to invest and expand.”

An airport tailored to the pharma industry, over the years, Brussels Airport has devised various products and services specifically geared to serve the pharma industry like the Airside Pharma Transporter (pictured left), helping keep pharma shipments at a constant temperature on the tarmac.

A few years ago BRUcloud was launched as an open data sharing platform where companies involved in the scheme, gather information through apps and the recent integration of new technologies such as blockchain has made part of the work paperless.

In the years ahead, the Brussels Airport said it will maintain a strategic focus on the pharma industry and is investing €100 million in the construction of logistic buildings of 100,000 square metres in the cargo area. Half of this infrastructure will be specifically designed to handle high-quality and temperature-sensitive goods, such as pharma products.

The airport works in tandem with the pharma industry under the aegis of the international cross-industry interest group, of which Brussels Airport is one of the founding members alongside Miami and Singapore airports. Pharma corridors have been developed for major trade routes Brussels-Montevideo and Brussels-Hong Kong.

“The quality parameters for a pharma corridor were established in association with the pharma companies. Brussels Airport is keen to step up the number of pharma corridors even further in times to come to facilitate the global quality carriage of pharmaceutical products from our country,” Feist concludes.