Ford Genk factory site reborn as Logistics Valley Flanders
The former Ford car factory in Genk has been transformed into a business park known as Logistics Valley Flanders. The site, which should create 3,000 jobs, was inaugurated on Friday.
The closure of the Limburg plant at the end of 2014 was a huge blow for the city and province, with the loss of around 4,000 jobs among factory workers and thousands more among suppliers. It produced more than 14 million vehicles in its 50-year existence and was a major local employer for generations. Production was moved to Ford’s plant in Valencia, Spain.
Now, the site has been transformed into a green business park, accessible by inland waterway, road, bike and rail. The old halls and buildings along the Albert canal have been demolished in recent years, freeing up almost 100 hectares of space.
"This redevelopment heralds a bright future for employment in Genk and Limburg"
“After the closure of Ford, all parties involved were quickly pulling in the same direction, as a result of which this site was redeveloped tremendously quickly,” said Genk mayor Wim Dries (CD&V).
The cost of the conversion was 80 million euros, financed by the Flemish region and private partners.
Waterways agency Vlaamse Waterweg has created a dock at the site with a view to a private venture operating a container terminal there. A gantry crane on rails will follow, to be used for container transhipment. It is expected that waterborne transport will take 100,000 lorries off the road each year.
Also on the site is the home of the Genk Green Logistics consortium, a state-of-the-art logistics and semi-industrial complex.
“With the jobs we can fill here, we realise an important objective from the SALK [economic recovery] plan,” said Dries. “This redevelopment heralds a bright future for employment in Genk and Limburg.”
#FlandersNewsService | Aerial views of the new Logistics Valley Flanders on the site of the Ford plant in Genk © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND