The Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba is to invest 75 million euro in a logistic hub at Liège Airport in Wallonia. It will be the company’s first such hub in the EU. The company made the announcement at the signing of a statement of intent in Liège on Wednesday morning. The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the company and of the Walloon and federal governments, including the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal).
Last week the Board of Liège Airport unanimously voted to approve Alibaba’s plans to set up a hub at the airport.
Like other hubs in Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Moscow it will be part of Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics division. The plans will involve the construction of a 220,000m² distribution centre, costing 75 million euro. The distribution centre is planned to open in 2021.
The Belgian Prime Minister stressed the importance of the investment for the Walloon of the investment for the Belgian and Walloon economy.
It has been estimated that the new logistics hub will create 3,000 jobs, 900 of which at the site its self. However, at Wednesday’s signing ceremony the company would not be drawn on how many new jobs will be created. Alibaba says that it chose Liège due it is geographical location at the heart of Western Europe. Furthermore logistical considerations also influenced the decision. Liège Airport is served by a freight railway that links it to the Chinese city of Zhengzhou and has direct cargo flights to China.
Speaking at the signing ceremony the CEO of Liège Airport Luc Partoune told journalist that “China has discovered a diamond here in Liège”.