The Amsterdam Area: Logistics hub for life sciences and health
A new report into life sciences and health logistics highlights the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area’s role as a leading player in the field and offers recommendations to ensure it safeguards this position.
Innovation + infrastructure to support LSH logistics
Ever since the invention of the microscope in the 17th century, the Netherlands has supported a long and honourable record of innovation in life sciences and health (LSH). According to the report, expenditure in R&D in the sector is now at €2 billion per year and the Netherlands is ideally located to share LSH products and services with the global market. 95% of Europe’s most attractive markets are within 24 hours’ reach of the Amsterdam Area by air, road, water or rail. Highly advanced physical and digital infrastructure along with a well-developed transport sector underpin Amsterdam’s leading role as a logistics hub for LSH. In 2018, the sector saw exports worth €59 billion, with the Netherlands taking the number 1 spot in Europe for the import and export of medical technology.
The full spectrum of LSH activities
The Amsterdam Area is at the heart of LSH in the Netherlands, with all aspects of the sector well-represented. An extensive ecosystem includes stakeholders ranging from major national and international companies to innovative smart health start-ups and entrepreneurs, alongside leading universities and other centres of knowledge and research. Amsterdam is also home to both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Europe Office of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). A highly educated, international and multilingual workforce and a strong local tech scene support the development and implementation of state-of-the-art healthcare requiring state-of-the-art logistics.
Unique expertise in LSH airfreight logistics
Further strengthening Amsterdam’s position is the presence of Schiphol Airport, a critical link in the global healthcare supply chain. An entire LSH aviation and road logistics ecosystem has grown around the airport and in the adjoining towns and cities of the Amsterdam Area. Alongside top-class physical infrastructure, The Netherlands Customs and Border Patrol agencies at Schiphol offer specialised knowledge and expertise in life sciences and health, meaning time-critical healthcare transports can depend on fast turn-around times.
Developmental priorities to keep Amsterdam ahead
The report by independent advisor Ben Engel for the Amsterdam Airport Area partnership concludes by calling for the digitalisation and optimisation of the supply chain to ensure the Amsterdam Area maintains its leading role in LSH logistics. Along with increased cooperation and data sharing between stakeholders, the report recommends a number of development priorities including: Devise ways to find, train and retain a skilled workforce at all levels, from handlers and warehouse employees to logistics software developers and biotechnologists; increase the bundling of individual supply runs and develop ‘milk-run’ concepts for supplying healthcare institutions; develop solutions for the provision of lab space and clean rooms for small and medium-sized businesses, and attract more MedTech companies requiring global logistics to Schiphol.