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New MSF logistics base by the canal

 - ©Ikram Ngadi/MSF

2012-08-22 - MSF Supply, the supply centre for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), opened its new warehouse and offices at Neder-over-Heembeek on Tuesday, in the presence of the Brussels Minister for Employment and the Economy. MSF Supply, which was previously based at a 6,500 m² warehouse in Merchtem, now has premises measuring 13,000 m² in the canal area, with the possibility of a 3,000 m² extension. Its one hundred employees have also been transferred to the new facility in Brussels. This relocation had been made essential by the rapid increase in MSF Supply’s activities, following the growth of Médecins Sans Frontières activities around the world.

“MSF’s activities are also becoming increasingly sophisticated with, for example, the deployment in the field of fully equipped hospitals. This requires very high-level logistical support,” explains Jean Pletinckx, logistics manager at Médecins Sans Frontières and managing director of MSF Supply. “Thanks to this new facility, MSF Supply will be able to continue growing its activities with due professionalism in order to meet MSF’s project requirements on the ground and react swiftly to emergency situations such as natural disasters and armed conflicts. We are now capable of responding to a major disaster within 24 hours and to two simultaneous crises within 48 hours.”

“For example, in connection with the refugee crisis in South Sudan,” adds Stefaan Phlips, MSF Supply’s site manager, “since the beginning of the year we have sent 255 tonnes of equipment to help 100,000 refugees, including medical equipment, tents and water purification equipment.”

The relocation also brings MSF Supply closer to MSF’s Brussels office at Jette and to the Espace Bruno Corbé, its training and innovation centre set up recently on the Port of Brussels site, near Tour et Taxis.

“Médecins Sans Frontières has thus confirmed the importance of Brussels as an operational hub,” stresses Jean Pletinckx. “This refocusing process could ultimately continue with a relocation to the heart of the capital for the offices, which are becoming more and more cramped in the building at Jette.”

In connection with this move, MSF Supply has given an undertaking to the Brussels Region to route containers intended for marine transport by canal, thus avoiding a large volume of road transport.

MSF Supply’s relocation has been made possible in particular by support from the Brussels Region and the Port of Brussels. For the Brussels Minister for Employment and the Economy,“Playing host to this logistics centre in the Brussels Region is good news on more than one count. In the first place because it demonstrates once again that Brussels remains attractive to all kinds of businesses and can provide the resources needed for their growth. (…) The challenge has again been considerable as a very large logistical space needed to be found, which, as you can imagine, is fairly rare in a highly urbanised region such as Brussels. I am therefore delighted that we have managed to come up with a real estate solution that rivals what is available in our Region’s large outlying business parks.”