Ostend Airport is now officially a China hub

The Chinese cargo airline, Hongyuan will operate 18 weekly roundtrips between China and Ostend-Bruges International Airport in the months to come. This was confirmed by Cling Guo, the
group’s representative at Ostend-Bruges Airport on Thursday 24SEP20 during the official opening of his company’s future European hub. Two other Chinese companies, Mukden and ADI Express, have
joined the initiative.

 

Hongyuan had been operating a series of test flights to/from OST, first 3 then 8 flights per week. Obviously, the result was encouraging. This has favored their decision to step up the number of
cargo flights by using OST as their future European hub. The decision in favor of OST was prompted by the fact that Hongyuan could not expand its service at Liege where the carrier had been
active before.  

When Hongyuan starts operating 18 flights per week at OST, it will have doubled its services between China and Belgium, utilizing ACMI-leased B747-400 freighter aircraft provided by Sharjah,
UAE-based agent ATC/Aerotrans.
The ground handling will be performed by Bcube.

Banner at OST Airport welcoming carrier Hongyuan and its partners  -  photo: CFG/ms
Banner at OST Airport welcoming carrier Hongyuan and its partners – photo: CFG/ms

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Logistics platform
The official ceremony for the opening of the hub also brought the signing of an agreement between the airport and Mukden Logistics, set up by Guangzhou-headquartered Mukden together with local
players already active in the port of Zeebrugge.

The company has opted for Ostend as a gateway for Chinese export companies to mainland Europe, because it has better distribution systems than the other airports, said Mukden’s Managing Director,
Qingzhen Yu. “The airport is close to the port of Zeebrugge where Mukden Logistics will set up an intermodal platform that combines freight transport by sea and air.”

In Zeebrugge, the Chinese real estate group, Lingang, acquired a 30 hectares concession for the development of logistics infrastructures. That Zeebrugge was chosen over the port of Ostend, which
is closer to the airport, has to do with the fact that the former is a logistics gateway, whereas Ostend focusses on offshore energy projects.

Currently, Mukden operates from an existing warehouse at Ostend Airport, but its intention is to move to new premises at the cargo zone Apron 1. These will be custom developed by Versluys
Logistics, a local group with which the airport also signed an agreement a few weeks ago.

Hongyuan contributes to volume rise
Also present at the ceremony, was a representative of another Chinese company, ADI Express, which runs a network of distributions centers all over China and also has a presence in France.

According to Ostend Airport’s CEO, Marcel Buelens, things are going the way they should at the airport, which saw its volume rise by 150% over the first 8 months of 2020. In August, Hongyuan
accounted for 15% of the volume. “Ostend Airport is an excellent location from which to operate logistics flows from China to the Benelux and France,” he said.

The first phase of the Apron 1 development will provide 45,000 m² of warehousing, Mr. Buelens added. “Phases 2 and 3 will depend on our further development and the kind of business we will
have.”

Marcel Schoeters in Ostend

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Source: Cargoforwarder

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