Working Paper N° 325

Economic importance of the logistics sector in Belgium

Classification JEL: 
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This Working Paper assesses the economic importance of the logistics sector in Belgium for the period 2010-2015 on the basis of the data from the annual accounts submitted to the NBB’s Central Balance Sheet Office. The logistics sector was defined on the basis of the NACE-Bel nomenclature of activities and corresponds to what is generally referred to as the professional logistics sector.

The sector’s economic importance was calculated via two different channels, namely the direct and indirect effects. The direct effects concern the contribution made within the sector itself in terms of value added, employment and investment. Those results are also broken down according to firm size and region. The indirect effects generated by the sector through its links with the rest of the economy are estimated for the variables employment and value added. The sensitivity of the results to the definition of the sector is then assessed by a rough estimate of the logistic activities taking place outside the defined sector.

The results of the calculations show that in 2015 the logistics sector directly created € 11.9 billion in value added and employed 134 000 full-time equivalents; in so doing, the sector contributed 2.9% of GDP and 3.3% of domestic employment (expressed in full-time equivalents). The total economic importance of the logistic sector – i.e. including the indirect effects generated by the sector– came to 4.6% of GDP and 5.4% of domestic employment. If the definition of the sector is extended to include logistic activities outside the defined sector, the estimates for both percentages increase by more than half, to roughly 7.6% of GDP and 8.0% of domestic employment.

In the Working Paper, the analysis of the sector’s economic importance is supplemented by an analysis from the social and financial point of view, presenting the findings relating to the social balance sheet, the financial ratios, the NBB’s financial health indicator, and credit risk based on the NBB’s In-house Credit Assessment System.