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Why is the Benelux region a logistics hotspot for Nordic fashion brands?

01 September 2023  |  Optimization

Want to streamline your fashion logistics? Find out why the Benelux is the destination of choice for Nordic brands in this must-read article.

Why are Nordic fashion brands relocating their logistics operations to the Benelux region?

Answer: The Benelux region is a pan-European multimodal logistics hub. Nordic fashion companies are moving their logistics operations there to take advantage of its strategic location, excellent infrastructure and favourable business climate. Offering cost savings, shorter delivery times and increased efficiency, the Benelux region is a clear winner for Nordic brands looking to streamline their logistics operations and expand their footprint

From chunky jumpers to statement prints, it’s fair to say that Nordic and Scandinavian fashion has taken Europe by storm over the past decade. Now more than ever, consumers are looking for wardrobe-building pieces that can be worn over and over again. And that’s what Scandi fashion does best! But if you’re an ambitious Nordic fashion brand that has already conquered its home market, where should you look for growth?

It might be time to consider expanding across the continent! With the European apparel market currently worth USD 484.2 billion, more and more Nordic fashion brands are looking to expand their reach. But to make the most of the European market, it’s important to choose the right location for your logistics operations. And for many Nordic fashion brands, there’s a clear winner: the Benelux region. Read on to find out why!

Why are Nordic fashion brands moving to the Benelux region?

Offering simplified access to several lucrative European markets, the Benelux region is an obvious choice for your logistics operations. The region, comprising Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, is well known as a central hub for multimodal logistics. Nordic fashion brands relocating their logistics operations to the Benelux region can streamline fulfilment, improve delivery times and better serve their customers.

Swedish fashion superstar H&M was an early adopter when it came to reaping the benefits of the Benelux region. The company operates distribution centres in Tilburg and Nieuwegein in the Netherlands, and Mons in Belgium, its main European fulfilment hubs. This presence has been central to the brand’s European expansion over the past decade, allowing it to reduce transport costs and improve delivery times. And many of its Nordic cousins are following suit.

One such brand is Bestseller, a Danish company that owns several popular fashion brands including Vero Moda and Jack & Jones. In 2021, it announced the opening of a new EUR 265 million logistics centre in Lelystad, the Netherlands, the company’s largest single investment to date. According to Allan Kyhe Kjærgaard, Logistics Director at Bestseller, the centre promises to catalyse the brand’s expansion. “It’s a significant milestone for our future growth ambitions,” he says. A fellow Danish company, lifestyle giant JYSK, also announced in 2022 that it will invest EUR 200 million in a new Lelystad distribution centre. The company highlighted the significant cost and environmental efficiencies that the new facility will enable.

Driving down costs and emissions with Benelux-based logistics

Swedish womenswear brand Chiquelle is also seeing the benefits of moving logistics to the Benelux, as part of its renewed growth strategy. In 2019, Chiquelle announced that it would relocate its logistics operations from the outskirts of Stockholm to Bleckmann’s distribution centre in Almelo (in the eastern Netherlands). This enabled the brand to reduce fulfilment costs and delivery times, allowing it to better serve customers. The new location also provides easy access to the Benelux and DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) markets.
Importantly, establishing logistics operations in the Benelux region has enabled the company to strengthen its sustainability credentials by reducing its transport-related emissions. “We recognised the need to ensure profitable and sustainable development for the future,” says Pouya Boland, CEO and co-founder of Chiquelle. “We expect to reduce distribution costs by a third while freeing up more time to focus on other core parts of the business.”

What are the benefits of relocating your fashion logistics to the Benelux region?

The sheer size of the European fashion market is a major attraction for expanding Nordic brands. Europe is home to some of the most lucrative apparel markets in the world. Therefore, moving your logistics operations to the Benelux region gives you the best chance to serve them all, meeting the continued demand for Scandinavian and Nordic fashion.

While the apparel market for the Nordic countries is currently valued at US$26.65 billion, the total European apparel market is valued at US$484.20 billion. So, keeping your fulfilment operations in the Nordic region can severely limit your growth potential. For example, a logistics operation located in the Netherlands gives you access to 170 million customers within a 500-mile radius. Meanwhile, the Nordic region contains only 27.8 million people in total. No wonder Nordic fashion brands are looking to Benelux to expand their European footprint.

‘The gateway to Europe’: the Benelux region brings lucrative markets to you

Relocating your logistics operations to the Benelux region effectively puts the entire European market within 24-hour reach. And with more and more consumers expecting next-day or even same-day delivery as standard, fast fulfilment can be a key competitive advantage. Choosing the most strategic location for your operations is, therefore, essential to building customer loyalty. So, how does the Benelux region provide such attractive delivery times?

The secret to Benelux’s status as a logistics hub is a combination of its strategic location and exceptional infrastructure. The region is ideally located close to highly lucrative markets such as the UK, France and Germany. And it offers a high-quality, integrated transport infrastructure, by road, rail, sea and air. The Netherlands is ranked at the top of the DHL Global Connectedness Index, followed closely by Belgium and Luxembourg. The Benelux region is ideal for expanding your brand’s footprint without ever compromising on customer service.

Building supply chain resilience by relocating fashion logistics to the Benelux region

In a market context where disruption is becoming increasingly prevalent, the winners will be those who can deliver consistency. Benelux-based logistics operations can help you achieve this by supporting supply chain resilience. Why? Because the more centralised your distribution centre, the more agility you can build into your logistics planning, as Siebrand Wiltjer, Key Accountmanager & Supervisor Sales at Bleckmann, explains: “If one transport route is unavailable, the region’s well-connected, integrated infrastructure means that there’s a good chance an alternative route will be available. And the more resilient your logistics operations, the better.”

Similarly, for those Nordic brands looking further afield for growth, the Benelux region offers efficient transport links to markets around the world, such as the USA and Asia. The region offers access to unparalleled transport links by sea and air, with world-class hubs such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the Port of Rotterdam (Europe’s largest seaport) and the Port of Antwerp.

Additional benefits of Benelux-based logistics operations

In addition, the environmental benefits of moving your operations to the ‘logistics heart of Europe’ should not be underestimated. By centralising your logistics operations in this well-connected region, it is possible to achieve significant sustainability gains. “That’s because the more central your distribution centres are, the more efficiently you can deliver orders to consumers,” continues Siebrand. “That results in fewer miles travelled overall, which reduces the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted.”

And don’t forget the business-friendly climate in the Benelux region. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Europe have a range of trade agreements that facilitate the flow of goods from around the world. So, no matter where your manufacturing sites are located, you’re guaranteed competitive inbound and outbound costs for any products you need to ship.

How can Nordic fashion brands effectively serve the Nordic market while driving European growth?

The benefits of relocating your logistics operations to the Benelux region are clear from a financial and environmental perspective. But how can Nordic brands ensure that such a move does not force them to compromise on the level of service provided to their home markets?

The good news is that moving your logistics operations from the Nordics to the Benelux region doesn’t have to mean compromising on the service delivered to your existing Nordic customers. In many cases, Benelux-based logistics operations allow you to achieve next-day delivery to Nordic markets, ensuring that you keep your valuable Nordic customers happy.

There’s no better place to expand your European presence than the Benelux region. Relocating your logistics operations here could be the catalyst you’re looking for to kick-start your expansion strategy. If you’d like to discover why so many Nordic fashion brands are choosing the Benelux region for their fulfilment operations, get in touch today to find out more. We’ll give you a free consultation and explain in detail how you can save money and boost your brand by relocating your logistics operations to the Benelux region.

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Dorota Tankink
Dorota Tankink

Marketing & Communication Manager

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