Chinese e-commerce group JD.com is stepping up its efforts to set up a distribution hub serving the European market with managers from its logistics subsidiary, JD Logistics, currently touring the continent to view potential locations, according to media reports.

Belgian business newspaper De Tijd said that a delegation from the firm had visited the port of Zeebrugge, in the company of the head of the Flemish Government, Jan Jambon and the port authority chairman and mayor of Zeebrugge, Dirk De Fauw, raising speculation that the Belgian maritime gateway is among the candidates.

It quoted De Fauw who said: "If a company of that calibre wants to invest in a Flemish port, we are very interested."

However, the newspaper added that details about JD Logistics' plans for expansion in Europe - such as the size of the investments, the required warehouse surface area and job creation - were not yet known.

There is already a strong Chinese presence at Zeebrugge where Cosco Shipping Ports has a controlling stake in APM Terminals’ container terminal at the port.

In October 2018, Chinese group, Shanghai Lingang Overseas Development, announced an investment of more than €85 million in Zeebrugge's Maritime Logistic Zone. Under the name ‘One park, two centres China/Europe,’ the project focuses on the creation of a 30-hectare logistics park to accommodate Chinese and international logistics players whose activities span the transportation of parts and components, reefer cargo  and e-commerce shipments between China and Western Europe.

Source: CEP Research