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GSK opens largest biopharmaceutical logistics hub in Belgium

On Monday, June 24th, GSK and its partners, MG Real Estate and Yusen Logistics Benelux, inaugurated the largest pharmaceutical warehouse in Wallonia in Gembloux. The facility covers some 40,000 square meters and is designed to store millions of vaccines and raw materials destined for more than 160 countries. It is also GSK’s largest biopharmaceutical warehouse worldwide.

Valued at €50 million, the center can accommodate up to 42,000 pallets that can be stored at different temperatures according to need, thanks to a 7,000 m² cold room and a 700 m² freezer compartment. State-of-the-art technologies such as autonomous mobile robots, automatically guided vehicles and sorting devices will help to ensure efficient management of raw materials and distribution of finished products.

"One million doses of vaccine will be exported from the center every day. This represents around 60% of all the vaccines produced by the Group," explained Emmanuel Amory, Managing Director of GSK Belgium. Taking into account semi-finished products and raw materials, Gembloux will handle 80% of vaccine-related products, making it the pharmaceutical group's largest global logistics hub. "This new logistics center will revolutionize our ability to store and export millions of vaccines worldwide," added Emmanuel Amory.

A supply and distribution system that meets environmental imperatives

The warehouse will be powered by 100% green energy. Solar panels cover the entire roof of the building, which should be completely self-sufficient by 2025. There should even be a surplus of electricity generated by 2030. As a result, the building has been awarded Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification.

GSK and its partners add that shorter delivery times will be guaranteed thanks to semi-automated handling and fully automated road and sea transport processes. Today, vaccines produced by GSK in Belgium are exported by air (mainly), sea and road. GSK is working to increase the share of sea transport from 30% to 70%. The loading docks at the new center are designed to be adaptable to sea containers that can be transported by lorry.

"This new logistics center will enable us to distribute faster to more than 160 countries, while reducing our emissions by almost 10,000 tonnes of CO2, just by centralizing several activities in one place”, explains Emmanuel Amory.

Europe's new flagship for pharmaceutical and medical logistics

This new pharmaceutical warehouse is the largest in the country, and one of the main hubs in Europe for distributing vaccines worldwide. It is meant to be an industry leader but also to become the new flagship of pharmaceutical and medical logistics in Europe with a facility that is designed to meet a wide range of security requirements throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain. It will provide storage and handling of products under varying temperature conditions, from ambient to frozen solutions.

GSK is the largest employer in the pharmaceutical sector in Belgium. Wallonia is now further consolidating its leading position in logistics in this sector. GSK's vaccines business, which posted sales of €9.2 billion in the last financial year, has a strong presence in Belgium, where it employs a total of 9,000 people, making it the largest private employer in the south of the country. The pharmaceutical company is also investing several hundred million euros to modernize its historic site at Rixensart and its vaccine production capacity at Wavre, which is one of the largest in the world.

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