The logistics warehouse consists of 8,000 m² for cross-dock activities, and another 1,000 m² of office space. 65 loading docks are situated along the 2 long facades of the building. The docks are foreseen of high definition cameras, able to read barcodes and linked to the scanning system. This way goods can be tracked more easily and any damage registered.
A lot of attention has been given to sustainability; solar panels and a green roof, charging stations for electric bicycles and cars, LED lighting with automatic dimming at sufficient natural light intensity, and so on. In the warehouse, you will only find electric forklift.
One hundred year company
“The high degree of digitization and the people-oriented corporate culture is fully in line with the philosophy that Mainfreight uses as a 'one hundred year company'", explainsTom De Walsche, sales executive at Mainfreight Forwarding Belgium.
“We have 115 people working in Zwijnaarde (40 logistics staff, 35 employees and 40 drivers). This is above the initial estimation.” he adds.
The new cross-dock center in Ghent replaces the platform in Ostend, which was acquired by Mainfreight by the takeover of Wim Bosman (former Maenhout). The platform in Ostend does no longer responds to the current efficiency standards. The location on the coast also caused a lot of additional back-and-forth traffic. The shift to Ghent translates into savings of 1 to 1.8 million kilometers driven and thus into a lower bill for the kilometer charge.
To strengthen the visibility andbrand recognition of the group, the entire fleet will have the blue-white Mainfreight colors by 2020, the old Maenhout- or Bosman colors will have disappeared completely.
Ghent and Genk
The activity in Zwijnaarde is fully focused on international groupage (60%) and national distribution (40%). The Ghent branch, which runs around the clock six days a week, is the western counterpart to that in Genk.
"We deliberately choose to work decentralized and not on the Antwerp-Brussels axis. We avoid a lot of traffic jams, "says De Walsche.
"In Zwijnaarde we handle 1,200 to 1,600 shipments every day. Our core business are shipments of the size from one to six pallets. It concerns pallet goods of the most diverse types - including ADR - with the exception of temperature-controlled goods. We work not only for shippers but also for transporters and logistics specialists."
For consolidation of volumes at international destinations, the cross-dock operations and transports between Ghent and Genk mainly take place at night. From Zwijnaarde, shuttles depart daily for destinations such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany. We want to gradually expand that network into direct lines and increase the frequency of shuttles.
The warehouse is ten meters high, a lot more than necessary for a platform that only performs cross dock operations. Even though Mainfreight does not intend to do storage in Zwijnaarde, there is not one rack in the entire warehouse.
For interim storage, the logistics service provider took a warehouse of 10,000 m² into use at the WDP site, on the back quay of the Kluizendok in the port of Ghent. Mainfreight wants to expand its storage capacity in to 30,000 m².
Connection to rail and inland shipping is possible at the Kluizendok. In Zwijnaarde, Tech Lane is not connected to the rail network, but with its location along the Ringvaart and an arm of the Scheldt the site is water-bound. Tom De Walsche does not exclude the use of these transport modes in due course. "This is not always obvious for palletized traffic, but if the customer chooses, we are of course open to that."
Source : FLOWS 26/09/2018
For more information: https://www.mainfreight.com/global/en/news/mainfreight-ghent-official-opening.aspx