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Wallonia scores highly in Europe-wide logistics study
According to a study of 50 European regions by business consultancy PwC, Wallonia is the fourth most attractive region in Europe for logistics stakeholders, and the most attractive in Belgium.
Based on the June survey, and at the request of Logistics in Wallonia, the Union Wallonne des Entreprises and AWEX, PwC produced a report to update a 2009 study by Cushman & Wakefield and highlight areas that could still be improved.
In its survey, PwC analysed and compared 50 European regions based on criteria that are decisive to setting up a distribution centre:
• The market’s proximity: buying power and economic activities
• Work: availability, flexibility, productivity, employer-employee relationship
• Operational costs: cost of energy, workforce, property
• Distribution facilities: IT, proximity of cargo airports, maritime ports, density of the road network, boat routes and railway lines
• Availability of land: industrial parks and building land
• Regulation and taxes: political stability, administrative obligations, freedom to invest, transparency, effectiveness
• Competences: linguistic skills and logistics expertise
In addition to its advantageous geographic location, Wallonia has many assets for attracting new distribution centres: a market of 60 million consumers with a high buying power that can be accessed within four hours; a cargo airport that’s listed among the top eight in Europe; the highest tonnage for inland river transport in Europe connected to Antwerp and Rotterdam; and effective rail connections, especially to southern Europe.
Bernard Piette, director general of Wallonia’s Logistics competitiveness cluster, also highlights the availability of workforce and property, although it is still necessary to “improve the perception and image of Wallonia on the international stage”.
“For Wallonia to continue to be competitive, it is time to reconstitute a significant stock of large areas of land – more than 15 hectares – to attract large installation projects,” said Pascale Delcomminette, CEO of AWEX, who agreed that a great deal of work remained to be done in terms of image.
Samuel Saelens, advisor at UWE, added: “It’s important to specify that we did not choose the criteria in order to give ourselves an advantage: we wanted to have a frame of reference that allows us to understand where we are.”