FORWARD Belgium (VEA) - september 2021 - Eng.

Page 1

Issue no. 14 september 2021

Belgian Freight Forwarding Association

FORWARD Belgium and Air Cargo Belgium aim for an intensive partnership Portilog presents its revamped training course portfolio

We must draw lessons from the turmoil of recent months INTERVIEW | YOUNG FORWARD | COMMITTEE NEWS | KNOWLEDGE & TRAINING | TRENDS & INNOVATIONS

Olivier Schoenmaeckers


The new normal The offices of most forwarding companies are well filled again. The signs on the lifts saying “max. 1 person” and the posters reminding everyone that it is compulsory to wear a face mask and keep a distance of 1.5 metres are still up in the entrance hall. Some offices are empty or only manned part-time. Teleworking and flexible hours, and all of that. So, who had said that teleworking would be impossible in our sector? Too conservative, right? Suddenly, we are an attractive employer for the young generation thanks to our focus on a good work-life balance and well-being, and our commitment to the 17 SDGs, which showcases our drive for sustainable business and our contribution to better environmental policies. The new normal looks promising. Volumes are booming, customers are paying record prices, shipping companies are recording historic profits, terminals are operating at full capacity, transporters are even managing to pass on surcharges and waiting times to customers... Everyone in the logistics chain is happy. Or maybe not? It turns out that the logistics system is cracking, and the service aspect is disappearing! Do you expect that everything will return to the way it was once we have put this pandemic behind us? Think again! Perhaps the balance has changed for good. Shipping companies have become even more powerful thanks to historic profits and they are integrating themselves deeply into the logistics chain by taking over forwarding agents and customs representatives, even acquiring participations in air carriers.

Terminals are

groaning under the pressure and are also diversifying their services by setting up digital platforms, acquiring participations in inland terminals and offering intermodal solutions... We fully support all initiatives taken towards the European competition authorities,

Colophon Brouwersvliet 33 / Box 1, 2000 Antwerp

President Joe Biden urging the Federal Maritime Commission to take action against skyrocketing maritime freight rates, Chinese investigations into anticompetitive behaviour by shipping companies, etc.


But shouldn’t we first and foremost look at ourselves? Forwarders are the real

T +32 3 233 67 86

architects of transport - creative, flexible and stress-resistant.

Don’t forget to tell your customers/shippers how you moved heaven and earth

to get their goods to their destination, the efforts it takes to get a container on

Responsible publisher:

board of a ship today, how inventive we need to be in order to load a container

Olivier Schoenmaeckers

at the customer’s and then deliver it to the terminal within the Yard Opening

Administration: Ines De Bruyn

Time, taking into account the various closures of the shipping companies, daily discussions about extra costs and surcharges, and so on... Make sure your customers do not forget how tough these past months have been!

Marketing: Vanessa Thys

Do not point fingers at other parties but emphasise your own strengths, your added value and your objective and trustworthy service during the past months.

Change of address:

It can’t do any harm to remind your customers in the future, when they might be

Ines De Bruyn,

approached by other parties...

Editors: Nicole Verstrepen, Olivier Schoenmaeckers

And in the months ahead, let’s continue to jointly look at the way we do logistics. E-commerce volumes, night opening times, congestion and waiting times, Oosterweel, the CO2 tax, the modal shift...


The new normal will urge us to move away from ingrained habits and look for new

Ingrid Renders


Concept & creation: KMOdynamoo


Olivier Schoenmaeckers


We must draw lessons from the turmoil of recent months The Covid-19 crisis has brought about

the net growth is actu-

a significant disruption in the logistics

ally not that impressive.

chain worldwide. Patrick Kockx, man-

The shipping compa-

aging director of shipping company

nies have to make pro-

“ The land-based supply chain reached its limits years ago”

CMA CGM, Dirk Van den Bosch, CEO

portionally much more

of container terminal DP World Ant-

effort and deploy more

werp, and Jens Roemer, representing

ships in order to absorb this limited

“A second bottleneck is the size of

FORWARD Belgium, each outline

growth. The root cause of this lies in

the ships, which has evolved from

from their own business perspective

the US, where dozens of ships are at

12,000 to 13,000 TEU eight years ago

how the supply chain has been dis-

a standstill at times. This has an im-

to as much as 23,000 TEU today. As

rupted and how they now look to the

pact all the way to Asia.


a result, more operations are required

future. “We must draw lessons from

cannot be shipped to America and

at the terminals. We keep on adding

the turmoil of recent months”, as Pat-

get in the way at the terminals. The

containers. The terminals can no lon-

rick Kockx puts it.

shipping companies and the termi-

ger handle them in time, so the sys-

nals have to make do with what they

tem collapses.”

Jens Roemer

Patrick Kockx and Dirk Van den Bosch

have available. The Port of Antwerp,

explain how a huge boom in volumes

often the last port of call, seems to

“We have to constantly plan and re-

occurred in the autumn of 2020, re-

then have to deal with all these pro-

schedule. Because of the tighter deli-

sulting in congestion in many ports

blems in a concentrated way.”

very windows, we sometimes only have



Patrick Kockx: “The capacity of a num-

one day to deliver our containers free of charge. This creates a rat race and generates congestion on the roads.”

ber of shipping companies has incre-

“No one could have foreseen this

ased, but not enough. Ships are experi-

consumption boom,” Jens Roemer

Patrick Kockx also sees bottlenecks

encing delays, sometimes up to dozens

chimes in. “But the land-based sup-

from the perspective of shippers and

of days. This puts pressure on the other

ply chain reached its limits years

recipients: “Think of night opening

stakeholders in the logistics chain.”

ago. One setback turns the whole

hours. At the port we are doing per-

chain upside down. In many coun-

fectly in that view, but warehouses (in

Dirk Van den Bosch: “If we analyse

tries, there is a shortage of drivers

the hinterland) have limited opening

the consumption boom, we find that

and trailers. The loading and unloa-


we have more than made up for the

ding infrastructure is often also out-

opening hours comes at a cost, but

decline in the first half of 2021, but


we have been asking for years. A se-

We realise changing these


cond bottleneck is the lack of multi-

tainers featuring its own colours and

is key: “The right information must be

modality. Waterways and railways are

brand name. Most shipping compa-

made available more quickly. Digitali-

still underutilised.

We must tackle

nies refused (and still refuse) to make

sation is an ideal tool in this view, but

this with all the parties concerned.

their hinterland containers available to

even that is no easy feat. Companies

Perhaps we should even abandon the

the Central Booking Platform (CBP).

have their own IT systems and their

just-in-time principle.”

There is great concern that Merchant’s

own data policies.

Haulage is being discriminated against He is convinced that the chain is able

by the shipping companies in favour of

He adds that it makes a world of dif-

to organise flexibility and bundle car-

Carrier’s Haulage so that the shipping

ference to a terminal to know the next

go in inland hubs and then bring it to

companies can impose their own con-

mode of transport in advance and in

the terminal by barge or train, depen-

ditions on the shippers!”

good time, so that container movements can be planned better.

ding on the closing of the cargo. Dirk Van den Bosch notes that when it Jens Roemer agrees with him, but

comes to these bottlenecks, the regu-

Jens Roemer laments the fact that he

points out that the Central Booking

lator still has work to do: “Politicians

has to have a different interface for

Platform that FORWARD Belgium set

do talk about night shifts, but concrete-

each port if he wants to exchange data.

up five years ago with the intention of

ly, nothing much has come of it, and as

bundling cargoes has not been a suc-

far as waterways are concerned, week-

cess: “The problem is that there are

end work should be facilitated further.”

no ‘grey - neutral’ containers that can be used by every shipping company.


What lies ahead FORWARD is keen to know how the two men look to the future.

Each individual shipping company only wants to transport its own con-


He goes on to say that good planning

Patrick Kockx: “In the short term, we

sis comes with opportunities and forces people to change. However, I am afraid that this process will take a while.” Dirk Van den Bosch: “I am convinced that we will get

FORWARD Goals for sustainable development


will struggle to work our way out of this crisis. But every cri-

through it. In the short term, I do not think we can count on a miraculous solution. But the second quarter was already

Sustainability is not just a fad in

a lot better managed from both sides. The fact that we are

our industry, but an absolute must. At

sitting around the table with three stakeholders shows that

FORWARD Belgium, we are therefore encouraging our

we are looking in the same direction in search of solutions.”

members - in a feasible and approachable way - to pursue a sustainable course. With that in mind, FORWARD Belgium recently launched the sustainability label

Nothing but praise for the logistics ‘heroes’

‘FORWARD Goals for Sustainable Development’. By participating in the ‘FORWARD Goals’ you demonstrate

All three of our speakers have nothing but praise for their

that you can legitimately present yourself as a sustainable

employees. Jens Roemer: “They are real heroes. They con-

logistics provider. The most original initiative will also

stantly need to amend and adjust their plans. That is why

be put in the spotlight during a FORWARD event and

they often feel frustrated at the end of the day.” Dirk Van

receive the FORWARD Goals Award.

den Bosch: “Our operational teams work extremely hard to solve problems. Unfortunately, the results are often not as

More info:

expected and these efforts have to be maintained for some time.” Patrick Kockx: “I fully agree. Nothing but respect.”

Justitiestraat 26 2018 Antwerp Tel: 0032/ (0)3/203.40.00 Fax: 0032/ (0)3/225.28.81 Van Doosselaere Advocaten focuses on companies with a specific specialization in the legal branches of transport, logistics, customs and excise duties, insurance and company law.

Our team of lawyer experts is available for your services. Guy Van Doosselaere ( Adry Poelmans ( Jan Daneels ( Geert Preckler ( Christophe Van Mechelen (


Committee news

where I learned about all aspects of forwarding and I discovered the extensive possibilities that the Port of Antwerp and all its stakeholders have to offer. I have been working at H.Essers since 2011, where as Business Unit Manager Forwarding & Customs I am responsible for a team of 70 passionate employees. We ensure that the inbound and outbound goods of our global customers are transported to and from our warehouses as efficiently as possible and the necessary customs permits and documents are produced in a timely and compliant manner, always in cooperation with and according to the wishes of our cus-

Meet the new chairpersons…

tomers. We tackle all the pieces of the puzzle in close coop-

Intermodal Committee Wim Gijbels

eration with our customers to manage their supply chain as

Wim Gijbels, 48 years old, married to Liesbet and father of

best meets the demand.

2 teenage children, Willem and Lien.

As H.Essers, we are increasingly focusing on this synchro-

I have been active in the sector for 26 years and I have been

modal strategy and in recent years, we have invested heavily

fortunate enough to work in fast-growing companies where

in our own assets. A few years ago, we took over railport

not everything was strictly compartmentalised. This allowed

Genk, through a recent acquisition we expanded the Mark-

me to help determine the structure and work on a very

iezaat container terminal in Bergen op Zoom and as from

broad range of applications, projects and tenders from A to

2023 we will assist in the development of the Port of Limburg

Z. Thanks to this career path, I was able to build up extensive

in Genk. In addition, we are sending more and more of our

practical knowledge in different types of goods, flows and

own 45-ft containers to and from China by block train and


our 2,000 tank containers are travelling through Europe in

I joined PSA in 1995 (when it was still called Noord Natie),

an intermodal way.

etter! B s i e l p m i S ion Digitalizat g Teleworkin

efficiently as possible. IN doing so, we are increasingly relying on synchromodal transport. Depending on the route, the requirements or a particular approach (e.g. CO2 reduction), this can be achieved by sea freight, air freight, rail, inland shipping, short sea or by road (or a combination of the above). We offer customers a tailor-made and dynamic solution that

How can we help you?

Simplifying of workflows for Freight Forwarders. Simplifying Administration Simplifying Procedures Teleworking Reduce Time Reduce Stress/Faults …

Let us brainstorm together and find out how we can help you!

Make an appointment now and we will come to you. Eekhofstraat 41


2310 Rijkevorsel

+32 468 19 86 51

Young Forward

A year and a half ago, I got the opportunity to join the Board of Directors of FORWARDBelgium and a few months ago I was also elected chairman of the Intermodal Committee. In this committee, we aim to further promote the modal and mental shift, so that the available capacity of the various modes of transport is better utilised and we can all join forces to contribute to reducing waiting times and congestion: in traffic jams, at the terminals, at the warehouses... To do this successfully, we need the necessary knowledge and/or supporting systems. And we have noticed that in many cases, both are lacking in the sector.

On 19 October – during the Transport & Logistics fair –

So that is another important hurdle to overcome: telling

Young FORWARD Belgium will be organising a Young

people how it can be done, who can help and how much it

Logistics Challenge. This Challenge is a one-day Hackathon

costs. Once the first successes have been achieved, that will

aimed at young talents within the logistics sector as well as

set the ball rolling.


That is why the Intermodal Committee has joined forces with the Port Authority and we are currently looking at how we

The Challenges - which were inspired by the Sustainable

can disseminate knowledge better with a How-to Guide.

Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations - were

We want to show that booking a container on a barge or

drawn up in such a way that they can be worked out in one

a train can be just as simple and quick as booking a truck,


from A to Z. Freight forwarders are usually under enormous

The participating teams will seek a solution for the following

time pressure. If they can book a truck faster, other modes of


transport are quickly pushed aside.

- What do you expect from your employer as an attractive,

We will also need to sit around the table with all stakeholders to look for solutions to ease the current congestion in

sustainable company? What attitude can your employer expect from you?

the port of Antwerp. If we all continue to do what we are

- How can you make e-commerce sustainable?

currently doing, the situation will not change.

- How can you, as a logistics service provider, contribute to

Rome was not built in a day, but if at FORWARDBelgium we

the climate objectives?

can be part of the solution, we will gladly throw our weight

During the Young Logistics Challenge the participants also

behind this initiative. I encourage everyone to join forces to

have time to visit the Transport & Logistics fair.

tackle this issue! ▪

More info:


Committee news

“ The logistics sector bears a key responsibility in achieving the climate objectives and reducing CO2 emissions”

Meet the new chairpersons…

Sustainability Committee Anne De Beule

colleagues in the sector. But it also made me realise that

Anne De Beule, 31 years old, graduated with a Master’s

Meyvis, vice-chair of the committee and president of

in Applied Economic Sciences from the University of An-

Young FORWARD Belgium, and also from Olivier Schoen-

twerp and has been active in the logistics sector for 7


years at Haeger & Schmidt Logistics Belgium. In 2014

Sustainability has become a hot topic in recent years. We

I joined the then RKE nv as a junior dispatcher in the

are already noticing changes in customers’ thinking pat-

newly set-up Intermodal department. As a newcomer to

terns. They are no longer always looking for the cheapest

the maritime sector, the first years I gained an enormous

solution, but they are becoming more aware of the CO2

amount of knowledge about the various aspects of the

emissions that certain modes of transport generate. That

container business. The core activity of our department

is why it is very important for us to be able to calculate

was the planning and handling of the container ships that

these emissions correctly for the various modes of trans-

come from Germany over the Rhine to Antwerp. A few

port. We want to assist our members in this view and

years later, the train was added to complete the concept

provide them with the right tools to do this as accurately

of intermodality. In addition to scheduling the ships, we

and easily as possible. Within the committee, by means

also take care of all the customs formalities in Antwerp.

of testimonials, we try to showcase solutions to do things

From this position, I was able to develop into Team Lead-

differently. The 17 SDGs, which were drawn up globally,

er of the Intermodal department. This has given me the

acts as a guideline to work towards a more sustainable

opportunity to develop myself further and to take part in

future. And, with time, to achieve the targets set for 2030.

various working groups within the Port of Antwerp, allow-

With this idea, we developed the FORWARD Goals for

ing me to look after the interests and needs of the Barge

sustainable development. The logistics sector bears a

Operators in container barge transport. In recent years,

key responsibility in achieving the climate objectives and

the pressure on container terminals has been increasing,

reducing CO2 emissions. In a feasible and easily accessi-

which brings with it a greater demand for intermodal solu-

ble way, we try to encourage our members to sail a sus-


tainable course. It is something that every company can

One year ago, I joined Young FORWARD Belgium in

participate in and does not require complex reporting.

order to further develop my professional network and

We hope to be able to award the first Labels by the end

sharpen my knowledge of the sector in general. Also be-

of the year. So, I encourage all stakeholders to take part

cause in Covid times it was not easy to make contacts with

in this project▪


FORWARD Belgium plays a key role within the maritime sector. As an umbrella contact point, but also to defend the interests of the members at various levels. A few months after joining Young FORWARD Belgium, I was asked to become chairperson of the new Sustainability Committee. It was a unique opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands. I receive so much support from Tia

A large number of contracts are concluded, general

In a nutshell, the application allows you to:

terms and conditions exchanged, powers of attorney

- Send contracts digitally

and mandates signed between forwarders/customs rep-

- Upload and/or change and/or delete statutes

resentatives and their customers.

- Sign contracts with a legally valid digital signature - Check whether the right/authorised person has signed

Concluding and managing such contracts is a time-consum-

the contract

ing and expensive process. And it is often done manually.

- Easily manage contracts

Through the FORWARD E-Contract application, FOR-

In consultation with the users of the application, various

WARD Belgium offers its members the possibility to send,

UPDATES have been implemented in the past few months

sign and manage contracts digitally, FREE of charge.

to increase its user-friendliness even further.

This way of working is not only easy, it also saves time and

For more information, please contact Caroline Gubbi

money. It also guarantees legally valid digital signatures.

FORWARD Belgium and Air Cargo Belgium aim for an intensive partnership FORWARD Belgium and Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) are

Similar initiatives

currently exploring whether they can work together in

Nathalie Luyckx: “At ACB, I saw several initiatives emerge,

a more intensive manner. Both professional and lobby-

and I knew similar ones were being launched at FOR-

ing organisations see a lot of opportunities to strengthen

WARD Belgium and vice versa. So, we contacted the for-

one another. “In the area of digitalisation, for example, a

warders association and that got the ball rolling.”

lot of quick wins can be made,” says Nathalie Luyckx. As

Both associations currently meet regularly to get to know

a member of the Executive Committee of ACB, she had

each other better and to examine how they can join forces

the idea of contacting FORWARD Belgium.

and exchange knowledge. David Bellon: “Now that the Covid rules are less strict and

Air Cargo Belgium was founded just over five years ago.

we can meet physically again, it is easier to communicate

Chairman David Bellon: “ACB brings together all stake-

and develop a real project and structure for the longer

holders in the air freight industry around Brussels Airport:


the airlines, the air-freight forwarders, the handlers, but

Nathalie Luyckx: “We can see some quick wins, especially

also IT providers, for example, who supply software to im-

in terms of digitalisation. For example, we are analysing

prove our processes.

how we can reap the benefits of the systems that are al-

Historically, there were already several players who had

ready in place, so as to integrate certain processes with-

joined forces, such as the air-freight forwarders within

out duplicating data.”

BAFI (Belgium Airfreight Institute), and the airlines within

David Bellon: “We are very pleased that FORWARD Bel-

ACMAB (Air Cargo Managers Airlines Belgium).

gium was willing to listen to us. As a large organisation,

These non-profit organisations were dissolved and their

FORWARD Belgium also represents freight forwarders

members joined Air Cargo Belgium. Yet there remained

within CLECAT and FIATA, respectively the European

a need to cluster certain branches of the industry within

and global associations of freight forwarders.

ACB, each with their own agenda and activities. We set

ACB is an important niche association. Our members

up the Forwarders cluster, for example, under the chair-

will definitely benefit from this cooperation and single

manship of Sven Lacante.”

agenda” ▪

In turn,


Trends & innovations

FORWARD E-contract application

Knowledge & training

Yves Van Meirvenne, Director of Portilog: “Under the supervision of a working group in which the Antwerp Shipping






and HR managers and lecturers from the sector were represented, we completely transformed the diploma course for shipping/expedition. We introduced the renewed ‘Port Professional’ course in 2020-2021. From October of this year, we will be adding a third year in which you can specialise as a shipping agent or freight forwarder.”

European recognition In addition, Portilog reworked the Customs masterclass and expanded the offer of logistics training cours-

Portilog presents its revamped training course portfolio

“We gear our training courses to the latest developments”

es. Yves Van Meirvenne: “The training process fully complies with the stipulated modalities and conditions for the recognition of specialised training in Belgium in customs, VAT and excise regulations (MB 21-01-2021).”

Revamped website including search function The Portilog website has also been revamped.




very clearly which level the training Digitisation, connectivity, sustain-

ing course portfolio, fully geared to

is intended for: awareness, start-

able logistics chains, an increasing

the latest developments. All training

er, trained, experienced or expert.



courses can also be held on site, at

A convenient search function pro-

These are all new developments

the participants’ company premises.

vides an overview of the courses that



that have an impact on the shipping

match your interests.

and forwarding industry and on the

Those who would like to work in

work of the various stakeholders. As

the maritime or logistics sector and

a provider of practical port-related

retrain for this purpose can register

and logistics training, Portilog re-

for the key basic course ‘Port Pro-

Yves Van Meirvenne: “In addition

sponds to these needs. The training

fessional’, which has been entirely

to in-class courses, we also have an

centre is offering a revamped train-


online offer, mixing webinars and


Online and in class

The new logistics training courses on offer:

at your own pace.

- Support for exceptional transport of port vehicles

For HR service provider Randstad,

- Logistics planning in practice

we developed customised practical

- Good Distribution Practice (GDP) – Pharma Logistics

training courses that prepare appli-

- Reporting with Power BI

cants for vacancies in the maritime

- Sustainable supply chain management

and logistics sector.”

- Smart Lines HTL4.0: transformation and digitalisation in ports,

Knowledge & training

e-modules, which you can complete

transport and logistics Portilog was established 71 years ago by FORWARD Belgium (then

The new courses within the Customs cluster:

VEA), the Antwerp Shipping Asso-

- Litigation in customs matters

ciation and the General Association

- Impact of the incoterms on the VAT return

of Maritime Clerks. At that time, the

- Basic training in excise duties

training centre was called ‘Beroep-

- EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: practical implementation

sinstituut voor Havenbedienden’ (the Professional Institute for Port Work-

- Optimisation of customs clearance (2nd year - very successful)

ers). Portilog is recognised by the

- Preferences & Free Trade Agreements: a Practical Approach

SME portfolio and also has a Qfor

- A closer look at circulars

quality label. ▪ Verification, scanning procedures and the FAVV (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) More information on

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