Bridgestone Opens European Logistics Centre in Zeebrugge
With the completion of expansion work at the Zeebrugge warehouse, Bridgestone has opened its new 87,500 square metre European Logistics Centre (ELC North). The 9 November inauguration was conducted by Mr Takashi Urano, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Europe, Mr Yves Kerstens, vice president logistics and supply chain management, Bridgestone Europe and Mr Joachim Coens, chairman – managing director, Zeebrugge Port Authority.
When the expanded site is fully operational in 2007, it will be a key component in Bridgestone’s European supply chain aimed at raising flexibility, cost efficiency and customer satisfaction. Under the new two-tier system, three centrally-controlled ELCs will serve a network of 20 Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) close to their markets, enabling the company to hold allocation and gain flexibility in locating inventory.
“ELC North will be the benchmark for all our storage and distribution operations in Europe,” said Mr Yves Kerstens. “It will improve the match between our production and market demand.”
Bridgestone’s Zeebrugge facility started operations in 1998, warehousing imported truck tyres for European distribution. The size of the warehouse was doubled in 2003, enabling it to also handle imported car tyres. Today’s final expansion phase increases the covered storage area to 87,500m² and transforms the site into ELC North. The centre will store the full range of imported and European-produced tyres and provide just-in-time distribution to RDCs in Germany, UK, Ireland, the Benelux, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic states. Two other ELCs are under construction in the Czech Republic (ELC East) and Spain (ELC South) to supply their respective RDC networks.
Bridgestone now employs more than 800 people in Belgium. In addition to the Zeebrugge facility, the company has its European headquarters at Zaventem, a national sales company at Mechelen, an aircraft tyre company at Frameries and the Mecamold subsidiary in Liege.
The opening ceremony, including the typical Japanese “sake ceremony”, guided tour and reception was attended by over 100 business partners, journalists and representatives of the Port and local authorities, including the fire, police and customs and excise services.