Wallenius opens new vehicle processing centre in Zeebrugge
The Swedish-Norwegian group Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) has opened a flagship vehicle processing centre in Zeebrugge. The investment is worth € 8.5 million. The new state-of-the-art technical services complex will serve the world’s motor industry and agricultural and construction equipment makers. Around 90 specialist technicians will work in the centre and try to meet the needs of a wide variety of customer requirements. These range form cleaning and inspection of vehicles to more complex technical services covering all kinds of repairs, fitting of accessories and modifications to cars, agricultural machinery and construction equipment.
New logistics facility in port of Antwerp for Kuehne + Nagel
The Swiss group Kuehne + Nagel chose the heart of the Antwerp port for their new logistics facility, which offers over 14,000 sqm of warehousing space.
The new terminal is designed and equipped to offer a full package of warehousing, cross-docking and specialized handling activities including bonded warehousing and import/export (de)consolidation services. The customers will be European importers and exporters, and foreign manufacturers who need to bring their stock closer to the European market.
The location in the Waasland Cargo Centre area, close to the Deurganckdock in the very heart of Antwerp Port, not only facilitates seafreight transportation but also offers excellent access to both the hinterland and the pan-European motorways.
Government of Wallonia launches Marshallplan 2.0
The Government of the Walloon Region has approved the main lines of the “Marshallplan 2.0”, which is the follow-up to the economic recovery plan launched in 2005. In certain areas the new plan even reinforces the first one or reorients the issues in a totally new direction.
The Walloon Government identified several areas for action, such as the creation of activities and jobs by companies, research and innovation, education and training, and land development. Wallonia also wants to transform its economy in light of the challenges in the field of sustainable development.
As for the relations with the other Regions, the “Marshallplan 2.0” opens up the so-called “poles of competence” to other economic players from Flanders and Brussels.
The new recovery plan has the ambition to create a closer link between education and the economic reality in the Walloon region.
Finally, the goal is to reinforce the reputation of Wallonia.
Chinese award for Port of Antwerp
China has given the Port of Antwerp a Shipping Star Award in the category foreign ports. This is the fifth time that the Shipping Star Awards, an initiative of the internet site ShippingChina.com, have been conferred. More than 200,000 people voted online, including merchants, shipping agents and logistical companies in China.
Ansteel and Bekaert open new production plant in Chongqing (China)
Ansteel and Bekaert officially opened a new production plant for steel cord products in Chongqing (China). Ansteel, a leader in the Chinese steel industry and one of the top steel producers in the world, and Bekaert, global market and technological leader in advanced metal transformation and in advanced materials and coatings, concluded a strategic partnership in May 2008 and subsequently set up a 50/50 joint venture named Bekaert Ansteel Tire Cord (Chongqing) Co., Ltd. Ansteel and Bekaert decided to invest a total of € 150 million for the construction of the new steel cord plant in Chongqing. The investment takes place in phases. Chongqing is rapidly transforming into a new automobile metropolis. With the joint venture plant, Ansteel and Bekaert are responding to the rising local demand for steel cord products for tire reinforcement.
Positive evaluation of the Marshall plan for the Walloon economy
The Walloon government has made a positive assessment of its Marshall plan, a recovery plan it launched in 2005 to get the economy in Wallonia going again. 1.4 billion euro was set aside for the period 2006-2010 for the implementation of the plan. The goal was to realise a new dynamic and a cultural shift through various measures, including a reduction in fiscal pressure, support for business and investments in training.
The positive results are clear from a report by the special representative of the government and a note by the Walloon institute for statistics, IWEPS. The reports indicate that all the goals of the plan will be reached this year.
A range of results were visible on the ground rather quickly. A whole series of local and provincial taxes were abolished and an independent jury was created to select projects for the so-called competitive poles. These are partnerships between businesses, universities and training centres. Amongst other things the Marshall plan has been responsible for the creation of 27,239 new jobs, 115,076 people being trained and 1,250 new researchers being recruited.
Sustainable development, administrative streamlining and subsidy grants could still be improved. The Walloon Minister of Economic Affairs, Jean-Claude Marcourt, feels that the competitive poles should also be bolstered. According to Rudy Demotte, the Walloon Minister-President, there will be more improvements in a Marshall plan 2.0. Walloon social partners have already urged that the plan should be extended and intensified.
Leading US hospital selects Barco's new clinical review displays
Medical imaging specialist Barco has been selected by Stanford Hospital & Clinics, part of Stanford University Medical Center, to supply 58 of its recently-launched MDRC-2120 clinical review displays. Installation of the 2 MegaPixel displays is ongoing with 40 currently deployed.
Road sign manufacturer Cosign carries off contract to supply house numbers for Kuwait
Cosign a company from Diest, in the Province of Flemish Brabant, that produces road signs has just carried off an impressive contract to deliver house numbers for all 2.5 million inhabitants of Kuwait, spread over several hundred thousand houses.
These are no ordinary house numbers - these are square plates in anodised aluminium, on which the number, street and district are engraved. Adhesive letters and figures were excluded because these would soon be damaged by desert sand carried on the wind.
Cosign is specialised in road signs and is active in around seventy countries. The company has recently supplied the complete signalization for the airports in Brussels, Prague, Belgrade and Buenos Aires, as well as for hospitals in Singapore, Hong Kong and Riyad.
Flanders eases conditions for assisting businesses in the Flemish region.
Against the background of the current financial crisis the Flemish government has decided to be more flexible in its investment support for companies in Flanders.
This means Flemish investment support will be paid out to companies faster. Firms will also have more time to carry out their planned investment projects. The decision applies to ecology premiums, training and investment support and growth premiums.
As soon as a dossier is approved and the investment or training has started, the Flemish government will pay out a first instalment of 50 percent. Previously this was only 30 percent.
Due to the crisis companies also feel obliged to spread their investments over time. So from now on companies will have five years in which to carry out the investments for which they receive subsidies. Until now they had only three years.
Foreign company leaders to be exempted from compulsory employment card in future
The Council of Ministers has decided to amend the royal decree on the employment of foreign workers (*), so that foreigners who receive a residence permit on the grounds of exceptional circumstances or illness, can claim an employment card C (**). Minister for Employment Joëlle Milquet has submitted a draft royal decree to the Council of Ministers.
Moreover, in the draft royal decree people defined as senior managers have been added to the categories of employees who do not need an employment card to work in Belgium. A number of foreign workers, such as executives and researchers, do not need an employment card to work in Belgium, because they travel a lot and do not intend to settle in Belgium permanently.
However the existing definition of executives excluded CEOs from this exemption. To simplify the procedures senior managers will now be exempt from the necessity of having an employment card.
(*) Royal Decree of 9 June 1999 that brought into force the law of 30 April 1999.
(**) article 9 bis and 9 ter of the law of 15 December 1980 on foreign workers’ residence.
© Communication Service of the Federal Council of Ministers
General Directorate External Communications - Chancellery of the Prime Minister
American company Steelgate establishes itself in Liege
The American company Steelgate, which is active in the storage and management of biomedical specimens, has chosen Liege as the location for its European headquarters. Initially this will be at Sart-Tilman, on the campus of the University of Liege. Five people, mainly technicians, will be employed there. Steelgate, whose home base is in Florida, has chosen Liege as the base from which to conquer the European market because of its proximity to various large European cities and a cargo airport serving destinations including Asia.
Bayer CropScience centralises European research in Ghent
Bayer CropScience is one of the three divisions of the chemical company Bayer and is specialised in the protection of crops and biotechnology related to plants. It wants to centralise its biotechnology research in Ghent, where research is currently being carried out into making plants stress resistant and increasing their yield. Following this decision Bayer CropScience is closing its research department in Potsdam, in Germany. There the research is focussed mainly on food additives, an activity which Bayer wants to divest. Bayer CropScience wants to concentrate mainly on the development of plants with valuable new characteristics, by using modern techniques for genetic enhancement of plants. It will noticeably increase investments in this activity. Bayer says this will bring it into line with the general trend in agriculture, especially the increasing demand for food, animal feed and renewable energy.
Belgian at the head of Swiss staffing company Adecco
After nearly seven years at the head of the Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut the Belgian, Patrick De Maeseneire, will leave it to head the 34,000 strong Swiss staffing company Adecco on 1 June 2009. At the request of the Jacobs family, the main shareholder behind both Adecco and Barry Callebaut, he will remain in Switzerland to lead the world’s biggest staffing company. He succeeds the German, Dieter Scheiff.
The Belgian has worked for the staffing group before, between 1998 and 2002, first in Belgium and later at the group level, in charge of specialised staffing activities. Prior to that De Maeseneire already had a varied career behind him. He has worked as a consultant at Arthur Andersen, marketing director at Wang Belgium, general director at Apple Belux, director of the tourism group Sun International, and as commercial director of the Flemish television channel VTM.
University Hospital of Bonn in Germany selects Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX™ for enterprise-wide implementation
Agfa HealthCare, a leading provider of diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT solutions, announced that the University Hospital of Bonn (Universitätsklinik Bonn - UKB) in Germany has selected its Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) for an enterprise-wide implementation.
The agreement comprises of the delivery, implementation and integration of the solution into the facilities existing IT infrastructure to support the daily workflow and image management requirements of the radiology department, as well as Web-based image distribution for the entire facility.
Earlier on, Agfa HealthCare sold its IMPAX solution to medical institutions in several other countries (Bulgaria, Poland, Canada, US etc).
New Chinese contracts for Barco
Barco, a company with its headquarters in Kortrijk (West Flanders) that designs and develops visualisation products, has concluded a contract with the China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) for the installation of 100 digital cinema projectors in various Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Peking, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Xiamen and Fuzhou. This will be done in partnership with the GDC Technology group.
Since 2002 Barco has been the most important supplier of digital cinema systems to China Film Group Corporation. As a result of its continued investment in new projector technology, its digital cinema products, its personnel, and its support and business partners in China, Barco has more than 80% of the market share there. In the last seven years more than 500 of Barco’s digital cinema projectors have been installed in CFGC cinemas all over China.
Barco and GDC Technology will also equip 120 cinemas of the Chinese company Hengdian Entertainment with digital projection.
Barco selected by EADS Defence & Security for major radar system upgrade of the German Air Force
Barco, a leader in display and visualization solutions for selected professional markets, has been selected by EADS Defence & Security (DS), Ulm, Germany, for the delivery of visualization hardware and software components to be integrated into new radar systems of the German Air Force. The contract fits into a comprehensive program including the upgrade of 22 radar systems for military airfields all over Germany by 2015. For Barco, the contract holds a total value of almost € 14 million.
American pharmaceuticals group Baxter invests in Lessen
The American pharmaceuticals group Baxter has been active in Belgium since 1954. The group carries out research and development in Nivelles, has a production plant and distribution centre in Lessen, administrative services in Brussels and is still building in Eigenbrakel. Altogether more than 2200 people are employed at Baxter in Belgium.
Baxter has decided to expand its activities in Lessen, in the Province of Hainaut, and is investing 70 million euro there. This is the group’s sixth investment plan in Belgium in the space of ten years and Robert Parkinson, the Chairman of Baxter, does not exclude more investments in the region.
Baxter has only two research and development centres outside the US and they are located in Belgium and Austria. In addition the two countries also have large production sites.
Bank services in Belgium amongst the cheapest in Europe
In Belgium a package of basic bank services costs an average of 63 euros in bank charges. This is lower than the European average of 71.10 euro. In Europe only the Netherlands do better, according to the most recent comparative study by the consultant CapGemini, the World Retail Banking Report 2009.
Company can be set up in just 4 days in Belgium
As was confirmed in the most recent Global Information Technology Report by the World Economic Forum and previously in the World Bank’s report, Doing Business 2009, it is possible to set up a business in just 4 days in Belgium. Belgium is one of the only countries in the world where it can be done so quickly. Moreover there are on average only 3 procedures required to start a business.
Brussels Airlines one of the safest airlines
Brussels Airlines continues to be one of the safest airlines in the world, according to a ranking of the 65 biggest airline operators drawn up annually by the German evaluation centre Jacdec.
Jacdec’s list compares the number of incidents and fatalities since 1973 with passenger/kilometres realised. Including Sabena’s history, Brussels Airlines gets the best possible score – an index of 0.00.
German bathroom manufacturer Villeroy & Boch promotes Roeselare branch to European competence centre
The German bathroom manufacturer, Villeroy & Boch, wants to promote its factories in Belgium (Roeselare, West Flanders) and the Netherlands (Roden) to European competence centres for wellness products. According to Villeroy & Boch the decision is part of a large-scale reorganisation in the German group. The factory in Roeselare will be developed into the competence centre for acrylic applications. The site in Roeselare has already taken over a large part of the production of Villeroy & Boch’s acrylic bathrooms in recent years and the group claims that the Belgian branch has the most innovative technology in that field. According to Villeroy & Boch the investments in Roeselare and Roden will guarantee their competitive strength worldwide.
IBA sells new version of its CYCLONE 30® in Germany
IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) has sold a new version of its Cyclone 30® (a 30 Millions of Electron Volts cyclotron) to the Institute of Neurosciences and Medicine, INM-5: Nuclear Chemistry, a department of the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. The Institute develops and produces radioactive labeled tracers for diagnostics of brain diseases, among others Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and brain tumors, using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and PET/MRT (combination of PET
and Magnetic Resonance Tomography). The advanced Cyclotron (Cyclotron C30XP), a triple particles machine will be able to accelerate protons, deuterons and alpha particles.
The cyclotron will be operational in 2011 and it will be used for research, teaching and development of new generation radionuclides that will enable the exploration of new perspectives in the field of brain studies and cancer diagnosis and therapy.
Dredging International supports construction of primary school in Mexico
Representatives of the Belgian company Dredging International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the state of Colima for a donation for the construction of a primary school in Manzanillo, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The ceremony was attended by the Belgian Crown Prince Philippe, on a visit in Mexico. The community supporting initiative of the Belgian company fits into its broader policy of sustainable development, aiming at preparing today’s environment for the benefit of future generations.
Rotex to open new lab in Belgium
For over 100 years, Rotex, an American company, has been a pioneer and global leader in the development of screening equipment and technology for the process industries. Rotex engineers and manufactures a full line of leading-edge screening equipment, feeders, conveyors and automated analyzers serving a global market in such industries as chemical processing, food processing, mineral processing, plastic compounding and agribusiness.
In order to respond to the needs of its customers more promptly, Rotex is opening a new testing laboratory based in Europe. Wavre, Belgium, was chosen for its central location.
Engineers, experts in screening, have been charged with the task of testing materials to be screened, in order to tailor the best screening machine for its customers, the one that will be the solution for their business and allow them to increase their production with higher screening performance due to the unique gyratory motion of the Rotex screener.
Fret SNCF entrusts installation of its mobility solution to Zetes
Zetes, the leading European supplier of solutions and services for the automatic identification of goods and persons, has been awarded a project to implement and maintain a mobility solution at the European sites of Fret SNCF, the biggest French freight transporter and Europe’s 2nd rail carrier.
As part of the “Nomade Fret” project, Fret SNCF wanted to improve the exchange of information between operators on the ground and the central information system. ZetesInterscan, a French subsidiary of Zetes, is going to fit out the 1,500 operators with Motorola MC75 terminals equipped with a specialised application. These terminals communicate with the central system in real time via GPRS. Besides the installation and implementation Zetes will also take care of maintenance and support. The solution should be up and running on some 60 sites in and outside France in the course of 2009.
Antwerp diamond cutter produces most dazzling diamond in the world
Diamond cutter Louis Verelst from Pulle/Zandhoven in the Province of Antwerp has produced the most dazzling diamond in the world. The gem, baptised the “Brilliant Lady", was developed using a new cutting method which allows it to catch more light. It has 221 facets, whereas an ordinary diamond only has 57. Verelst is known as one of the most respected master cutters in Antwerp’s diamond milieu.
Jonckheere delivers 200 busses to Jamaica
The bus manufacturer VDL Jonckheere, from Roeselare in the Province of West Flanders, has concluded a contract for the delivery of two hundred busses for Jamaican town transport. In the past ten years Jonckheere has already delivered 525 busses to the Jamaican Urban Transit Company. The contract is worth € 63 million. The new busses are to replace the oldest specimens, which will be taken off the road. With their cleaner motors they should also contribute to an improvement of the environment in Jamaica. In addition the new vehicles are also equipped with a modern navigation system and air conditioning.
South Korea’s chemical company Songwon invests in Antwerp
The South Korean chemical company Songwon Industrial is to invest in Antwerp in an expansion of its storage capacity and the development of a European distribution centre. Their partner in this will be Antwerp Distribution & Products Operations (ADPO), a group specialised in setting up integrated distribution systems for the chemical industry. Songwon also has the option of expanding its new distribution centre even further in the future, for both solid and fluid products. According to Songwon this will optimise supply and production planning. The chemical company calls Antwerp a logical choice for its European headquarters since the region is one of the most important distribution centres.
Biggest Airbus order ever for Belgium
On 12 March 2009 the consortium Belairbus signed an agreement with aircraft manufacturer Airbus for the design, development, production and delivery of components for the A350 XWB, a new twin-engine plane for long distances.
Belairbus was founded in 1979. It is responsible for the commercial, financial and administrative handling of the Airbus contracts for the three companies, Asco (Zaventem), Sonaca (Charleroi) and BMT (Oostkamp).
Sonaca will design and produce the leading edges (front part of the wings), Asco will manufacture the corresponding drive mechanisms and BMT will supply the gearboxes and the transmission systems.
Brussels ranked tenth for real estate
With more than 300 offices in 50 countries, the American group CB Richard Ellis is the world’s largest real estate adviser specialising in mediation of rental and sales transactions, management, project management, appraisals and market research. Its clients are real estate owners, investors and real estate consumers. A study by CB Richard Ellis shows that Brussels has climbed to tenth place in the list of most important cities for professional real estate investments. In 2007 our capital was only in nineteenth place. The turnover in real estate comes to 1.577 billion euro.
ARC International chooses Zetes’ voice solution to optimise picking processes
Zetes, the leading European supplier of solutions for the automatic identification of goods and persons, has concluded a European framework agreement with ARC International for the implementation of its speech technology based 3iV Crystal solution. ARC International, whose headquarters are in Arques in France, has production sites and distribution centres in more than 160 countries on five continents. The ARC group produces and distributes tableware under its own brand names such as Luminarc®, Arcoroc®, Mikasa® en Cristal d'Arques®. Thanks to Zetes’s voice solution warehouse workers can focus better on their jobs because they now have their hands and eyes free to carry out their tasks. This has considerably increased productivity and reduced the margin of error. The use of voice technology therefore signifies a further step in the optimisation of logistical processes.
New Ariane contract for Techspace Aero
Techspace Aero in Herstal designs, develops and produces components for motors for air and space travel. The company, whose ambition is to become the world leader in this sector, is a subsidiary of the Safran group.
On 09 March 2009 Techspace Aero got an order from its parent company Safran for the production of components for 35 Ariane 5 launchers, which were ordered by Arianespace at the end of January. The total value of the contract is approximately € 18 million.
Labor cards issued in a mere two weeks
Belgium is faster than its neighboring countries when it comes to issuing labor cards to foreign knowledge workers. Such a card can be obtained in a mere two weeks. Belgium is doing an excellent job, it would seem, in the European battle for brainpower.
UK law firm Laga and consultancy firm Deloitte recently conducted a European survey into the different immigration regulations for highly qualified employees from non-EU countries. Belgium, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain were all compared in the survey.
In Belgium it takes ca. 2 weeks to get an application for a work permit approved. In France and Germany the average wait is 6 to 8 weeks. In the Netherlands it stands at 2 to 5 weeks. From an employer’s perspective, Belgium can also boast favorable wage conditions: a knowledge worker has to be paid a gross income of at least EUR 35,638. In the Netherlands, the lower limit is EUR 49,087, in Germany it’s higher still at EUR 86,400.
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Zetes supplies solution for the identification of military personnel in Burundi
Zetes, the European specialist in solutions for the automatic identification of goods and persons, has announced the signing of a new agreement with a consortium made up of the Belgian Technical Cooperation and the French company SOFOS Consultants for the registration of Burundian military personnel. The new agreement constitutes a continuation of the project to register civil servants.
To make it possible for the Republic of Burundi to manage its military personnel effectively, Zetes has introduced its solution for:
- the biometric and biographic registration of soldiers;
- data centralisation and the prevention of duplication;
- the production of safe identity cards.
This large-scale operation right across its national territory is aimed at registering 28,000 troops in the service of the Ministry of Defence and veterans.
The registration operation begins in March and will take 3 or 4 weeks. At the end of the registration process every member of the military will receive a biometric identity card complete with photo, fingerprints etc.