Logistics boosts foreign investment in Belgium - Companies

Logistics boosts foreign investment in Belgium – Companies

Belgium recorded some 245 investments by foreign companies on its territory last year, an increase of 8% compared to 2020, according to the annual barometer of EY.

This is growth above the European average (5%), which is rather news about the attractiveness of our country. Belgium occupies 6th place in a European ranking, largely dominated by France with 1,222 foreign investments and where Germany recorded a sharp decline (-10% to 841 projects).

This is growth above the European average (5%), which is rather news about the attractiveness of our country. Belgium occupies 6th place in a European ranking, largely dominated by France with 1,222 foreign investments and where Germany recorded a sharp decline (-10% to 841 projects). The sector best represented in these investments in Belgium is the logistics, with 46 projects, including a series of large American investments in the port of Antwerp. “This is part of a general trend to relocate a large part of the supply chain, comments Marie-Laure Moreau, partner at EY Belgium. Belgium’s geographical location in the heart of Europe is proving to be a very good asset.” And this advantage may be reinforced in the coming years, as 46% of investors surveyed by EY believe that Belgium’s potential to decarbonise the supply chain is greater than that of all European countries. This impression is based on tangible elements since, at the end of May, nine Walloon companies in the sector were recognized by the “Lean & Green Europe” program for their actions to reduce CO2 emissions. “This ensures Belgium’s strong position in the field of logistics in the longer term”, insists Marie-Laure Moreau. The first foreign investors in Belgium are the Americans, who are very present in Flanders. In Brussels and Wallonia, first place goes to French companies. Overall, the number of projects under foreign flags is down in Wallonia. This is explained on the one hand by the fall in Chinese investments (the n°1 in 2020), due to the Covid crisis, and on the other hand by recovery plans which do not come out with the same magnitude and the same vigor as in the surrounding regions. Foreign investments in Belgium concern 80% of new projects. “It’s very positive about the attractiveness of the country”, points out Marie-Laure Moreau. The challenge is then to root these companies so that they develop their activities in the country and then proceed to new investments. The advantages are the geographical location, the solidity of the logistics, pharmaceutical and chemical activities, the availability of land (even if this is beginning to dry up), research assistance and the quality of the workforce. Conversely, the pitfalls pointed out by investors surveyed by EY are political and regulatory instability, as well as the tax system and labor shortages, particularly in demanding profiles with high technological and digital skills. “It’s true, we lack skills in artificial intelligence, big data or cybersecurity, continues Marie-Laure Moreau. But it’s the same thing in most European countries. Our study even shows that Belgium does not We’re not ashamed of the comparison. Whether it’s digital or sustainability, we’re not the bottom of the class.”

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