Exclusive – Quick response to pandemic has cemented ACB’s local focus

David Bellon and Geert Keirens are convinced that the community approach of ACB was crucial in tackling the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. That is one more reason to
maintain the local focus of the organization, they point out.

Geert Keirens heads Air Cargo Belgium – photos: ms/CFG
Geert Keirens heads Air Cargo Belgium – photos: ms/CFG

The need for an unprecedented program of pandemic-related logistics at Brussels Airport, offered Air Cargo Belgium the opportunity to check its accomplishments against reality, Mr. Bellon (DB)
and Mr. Keirens (GK) claim.

So, what did ACB and the association’s members learn from the pandemic?

GK: “It has proven that collaboration pays off. Our vaccine logistics strategy has ensured that the means to battle Covid-19 could be delivered to over 40 destinations. We were able to react very
fast. It also stressed the importance of air cargo. Some highly needed goods shifted from the sea to the air modus. Air cargo has emerged as an important pillar in the struggle against the
pandemic.”

Where will your focus be in the future?

DB: “Digitization will remain our top priority. Secondly, we want to add even more value to our members, through the enhancement of applications and the organization of events. From feedback, we
have learned that our members value this a lot.”

Brussels only
You still call yourselves Air Cargo Belgium. Have you even considered opening up to communities in other Belgian cargo-dedicated airports?

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DHL Express MD David Bellon became chairman of Air Cargo Belgium in Sep. 2020
DHL Express MD David Bellon became chairman of Air Cargo Belgium in Sep. 2020

DB: “ACB was created within the Brussels Airport community, to reinforce the Brussels Airport brand. We have grown so strong, that other airports have realized the importance of what we have been
doing. This may have given them room for thought and we have no problems in sharing our knowledge. We wish, however, to retain our focus. There is room for different interest groups, but we do
not believe in a single umbrella.”

GK: “We are keen to collaborate with other organizations in the interest of the industry as a whole. On top of that, we have become the first ‘port of call’ for the different authorities on the
national as well as on the regional and local levels of administration, like Customs & Excise, the Food and Health Safety Agencies, and the Aviation Authority.”

A former chairman’s words of praise
Right from the start of ACB, the dynamic leadership of former chairman, Steven Polmans, enabled ACB to move Brussels Airport up to a higher league in the air cargo hub ranking. On the occasion of
ACB’s anniversary, Mr Polmans said: “I think that, thanks to ACB, BRUcargo is a perfect example of a modern and forward-looking ecosystem and the value that such an ecosystem can generate for its
participants as well as the wider environment.”

“Moreover, from my international position as president of TIACA, I can say that in a very short time, ACB has built a reputation and an image worldwide for the work they do and the role they play
and, above all, the results they achieve. Quite a few other airports look at Brussels with a mixture of interest and jealousy when it comes to ACB.”

Marcel Schoeters in Brussels

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Source: Cargoforwarder

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