The company installs train, tram and metro tracks, primarily in Belgium. It constructs new railroads and renews and maintains existing tracks, including the ties and the drainage systems in the track beds, the cable works around the tracks and the foundation blocks for signal and overhead cable poles.
Taveirne is a specialist in the construction of railroad switches and crossings and rail tracks on bridges, as well as tracks for cranes, for example in harbour areas. The vast majority of its work is undertaken on behalf of public authorities with around 5% completed for corporate clients in harbor areas, for logistics companies who provide rail transportation and for firms who receive their goods by rail.
Taveirne installed most of the high-speed railway line in Belgium and the tracks in large railway stations, such as Antwerp Central Station. It also renovated almost the entire tram line along the Belgian coast, and now undertakes other tram projects in northern France.
Competition in the market is intense. “The Belgian railway network is quite small but close knit,” explains CEO Steven Becaus. “That makes it accessible to foreign companies who make up three quarters of our competition. However, we have our own machine park that is suitable for the type of installations we undertake, which enables us to meet the very tight deadlines involved. Our people and our machine park can handle anything.”
An unusual feature of Belgian railway construction is that the work must be undertaken outside of service operating hours, often at night and at weekends to avoid disruption, so on-time completion is essential and fines for overrunning are extremely high. In addition to having the optimum equipment, which many foreign competitors cannot provide, Taveirne also boasts significant expertise in its project teams.
“We never do a job without someone in the team who has over ten years of experience, which other companies cannot guarantee,” says Mr. Becaus with pride. “We have the philosophy of a family-owned company and our focus is the work that needs to be done, not the contract itself.”
The headquarter is located in Torhout and the company also has a base in Antwerp, with a total of 110 employees. Finding employees in such a niche industry is difficult – there are only around 1,500 people working in this sector.
Although there is no educational profile that matches the market, Taveirne presents at technical schools to recruit new graduates and hires experienced staff with a construction or electromechanical background.
Mr. Becaus believes the coming years will be challenging. “There is a social evolution towards sustainability, so we would expect increasing investment in public transport,” he says. “However the Belgian government is cutting back on funding for national and regional railways which means less work for us.”
The company achieved a turnover of 21 million EUR in 2015 but Mr. Becaus anticipates that this will be difficult to match in 2016. “Our primary goal is to defend our core specialisms and our market share,” he concludes. “We expect our work in northern France to increase, and beyond that we will look at alternative work, as we did in the past.”
As a well-established company with a good reputation and highly motivated and experienced people, Taveirne has the key components to ensure it continues to flourish.