The idea of extended gateway implies extensions of logistics activities creating added value outside the traditional gateway area. Logistical activities are created on hotspots which evolve close to areas with lower total logistics costs. This can be accommodated in Flanders and the Province of Antwerp because of decent transportation infrastructure networks. Most of these locations offer two or three modes of transportation for customers to use. This creates extra opportunities for the dispersion of added value activities.
The Province of Antwerp offers a unique opportunity for logistics. In order to maintain and improve this world-class position there are some challenges that need to be addressed. All these challenges can be faced with the extended gateway concept. The concept offers an integrated vision and strategy for the expansion for sustainable logistics with positive effects on employment, mobility and prolonged spatial planning.
The zones where the extended gateway concept is currently applied is in fact the multimodal hinterland network with international gateways (sea, air,..) and available transfer points that serve as nodes. The choice of the optimal mode of transport is subject to a large set of considerations. These factors (like costs for transport and storage, flexibility, reliability and safety,..) can be summarized when calculating the total logistics cost. The unique aspect of this concept lies in the fact that companies are directly related to sustainable logistics and lowering costs. The total logistics cost is considered to be the actual blueprint basis of the Extended Gateway.
The basic idea is that logistic operations have to be located in the area with the lowest total logistic cost. Logistic operations for high volume products should located close to a gateway, keeping transfer costs as an important component of the total logistics cost in check. Consumer products with a short life cycle are to be transferred to the deeper hinterland for faster delivery. The Province of Antwerp is quite performant in both aspects.
An effective hinterland network is based on high volume cargo flows. These flows offer the most interesting opportunity to lower total logistics costs. For this reason companies who transport cargo by the use of a similar transportation concept are urged to cooperation. This cooperation will be smoother when companies are located in the same general area. The extended gateway allows a precise identification of the logistics hotspots with certain characteristics. The aim is to cluster certain logistics activities if possible. Consolidation opportunities in these hotspots allow for larger cargo flows between gateways and the extensions (hotspots), hence “extended gateway”. The size of the cargo flow has a positive effect on total logistics costs and therefore influences the multimodal solutions offered to customers.
Establishing logistics hotspots has a positive effect on the mobility policy and on the dispersion of employment when setting up added value activities. The concept of the Extended Gateway insures the continuity of logistics and added value creation in the Province of Antwerp.
The concept of Extended Gateway is unique because the economic growth is decoupled from the increase in traffic flows by the increase in diseconomies of scale. By allowing a strong consolidation of the total logistics costs concept an improved utilization of available transport modes before allowing for a price increase is delivered. This is one of the core conditions for the development of true sustainable logistics.
The vision and approach of the extended gateway is unique in Europe and can deliver a substantial competitive edge for the whole region. Alongside the importance for the logistics the possibilities for improving the perception of our Province as top location for sustainable logistics are considerable. In short the extended gateway is an important project allowing new dynamic sand opportunities for the logistics sector.