Benelux: three countries, one powerhouse

A strong economic region on the outside, close ties on the inside: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have long believed in cooperation. And this is also reflected at GLS. Together, the Benelux companies offer customers a one-stop shop for parcel and freight shipping.

The Benelux countries are centrally located in northwest Europe, boast the continent’s two largest ports and are known for their excellent infrastructure. All of this strengthens the region’s position as the gateway to Europe or, conversely, the world.


More than 60 years ago, the three neighbours established the Benelux Economic Union, the first full free trade and free movement of labour zone in Europe – 33 years before the emergence of the European single market. The three countries still cooperate in many areas, even though the region is characterised by considerable diversity.

The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe.
The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe.

Seamless freight network

Close cooperation also plays a key role for the three GLS companies in Benelux. They have established a common freight network in the region – in addition to the parcel network – with selected partners handling the pallets and general cargo in more distant parts of Europe.


“Our Benelux freight network is unique on the market,” explains Luc De Schrijver, Managing Director of GLS Belux. “Standardised processes at all sites, numerous direct routes and harmonised IT systems come together to create an infrastructure that seamlessly transcends national borders.”


Delivery in 24 hours, with borders no obstacle

Milo Kars, Managing Director of GLS Netherlands, explains how customers benefit: “Whether parcels or freight and whether shipped nationwide or across borders within the region, the standard delivery time is always 24 hours.” This even includes French and German regions close to the border.


Express and numerous value-added services round off the portfolio of the Benelux companies, enabling them to provide their customers with needs-oriented, flexibility-enhancing solutions across the board. An example: since 2018, GLS Belgium has been certified in accordance with Good Distribution Practice guidelines and has launched the PharmaService and PharmaService Plus for the transport of pharmaceuticals and medical products. 

Best international connections

The three GLS sister companies not only optimise their processes within the region, but also in terms of the Europe-wide network. The focus is on safeguarding delivery times in view of rising parcel volumes and further reducing transit times.


“The European GLS network is perfectly suited to the far-reaching trading relations of our region,” remarks Milo Kars. “This is also reflected in the export volumes of our customers,” adds Luc De Schrijver. “Here, we are witnessing double-digit annual growth both within the Benelux region and to other parts of Europe.”

E-commerce on the rise

A large proportion of consumers in Benelux surf the Web, with more than 80 per cent of them shopping online in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In Belgium, this figure comes in at 68 per cent, meaning that the potential for further growth is largest here. Consumers are happy to order from providers in neighbouring countries and further afield, but primarily within the EU.[1]


  • In order to continue handling the rising parcel volumes, driven by e-commerce, to the same high quality standards, GLS Belgium and GLS Netherlands are investing in the construction of sustainable, high-capacity depots in Tongeren (Belgium) and Amsterdam, as well as in capacity expansion in Wijchen (Netherlands).


  • Next-day delivery for goods ordered in the afternoon? No problem for cross-border online purchases in Benelux. The various delivery options of the FlexDeliveryService, which is also available on many other international routes, ensure convenience, with ShopDeliveryService and ShopReturnService completing the B2C portfolio.


  • GLS offers even more convenience for online shoppers (and business recipients) thanks to Saturday delivery in Belgium and the Netherlands. And 1,300 collection points – ParcelShops and 170 Belgian 24/7 parcel lockers – enable easy collection to suit customers’ lifestyles.


[1] European Ecommerce Report 2019

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