Role of Liege Airport in Covid-19 relief effort recognised by King Philip of Belgium

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Belgium eWTP Hub at Liege Airport has served as a distribution point for donations of medical supplies to 15 European countries

His Majesty King Philip of Belgium paid a visit to Liege Airport to thank the staff and key partners for their efforts in enabling the efficient distribution of medical supplies to Belgium and across Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the vital role of logistics to support Belgium and Europe’s economic recovery.

During his visit, King Philip participated in a roundtable discussion with representatives of key partners of Liege Airport, including Alibaba Group. The King expressed warm appreciation for the efficient distribution and logistics capabilities of Alibaba’s eWTP Hub and Liege Airport.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020, Alibaba’s eWTP Hub at Liege Airport has enabled the efficient and rapid distribution of medical supplies to European countries most affected by the crisis. To support these efforts, Alibaba has worked with Belgium Customs to digitise customs clearance procedures and Alibaba’s Cainiao Network has increased the number of chartered cargo flights to five per week. Among the European countries that have received donations of medical supplies via the eWTP hub at Liege Airport are Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

During this unprecedented crisis, Belgium, and especially Wallonia, played a crucial role as the hub for distributing vital personal protective equipment, including more than 1 billion protective face masks, to the most affected European countries through Liege Airport. This rapid mobilisation was made possible thanks to existing direct transport lines with China in Belgium which were established as part of Alibaba’s eWTP hub at Liege Airport.

The Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation were able to activate this logistics network quickly and efficiently at the beginning of the crisis to deliver urgently needed donations of PPE, and it was a determining factor in the WHO’s choice to place Liege on the map of the world’s emergency relief hubs, as underlined today by HM King Philip during his visit”, said Michel Kempeneers, COO Export-Investment Agency, Government of Wallonia.

For Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport, the royal visit is recognition of the key role of the airline industry: “We are very proud that His Majesty the King is visiting our facilities. This pride reflects on our staff and all workers on the site who have stepped up their efforts during the Covid-19 crisis. Companies and operators working together at Liege Airport have enabled the delivery of more than 1 billion masks! Air transport is vital in times of humanitarian crises, and we are pleased to have played a major role in protecting health workers and the population in general.”

During this pandemic, our global eWTP hubs have played a significant role in distributing urgently needed medical supplies across the world, including our Belgium hub which has played a critical role in Europe. As countries gradually emerge from the crisis, our eWTP Hubs will pivot towards supporting global trade, with a focus on using technology to assist SMEs, in order to assist with the economic recovery,” said James Song, Secretary-General of the Globalisation Office of Alibaba Group.

Since 2018, when Alibaba Group and the Belgian Government established the first electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) Hub in Europe, they have worked together on a number of initiatives to promote trade, technology, training and tourism between Belgium and China. This includes investing to further reinforce Liege Airport as a leading logistics hub in Europe.

Liege, Belgium, 9th July 2020

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