Pork Strong exports
by Dieter Heimig
The E 313 is one of the main traffic arteries in Belgium. It connects the cities of Liège and Antwerp. The municipality of Oevel-Westerlo in the Flanders region is located next to this motorway; it is also the home of the Bens NV headquarters. Aachen is just 100 kilometres away. The company specialises in pig cutting and is part of the Vanden Avenne Group based in Kortrijk. "Every week we dismember 20,000 pigs which have been slaughtered at the group-owned Sus Campiniae farm nearby. Sus Campiniae was launched in May 2017 and is one of the most up-to-date slaughterhouses in the world," reports Bens CEO Marcel Laeremans.
The company, which last year generated a turnover of 100 million euros and has 105 employees, operates a thriving export business. 90 per cent of its goods are delivered to foreign customers. Germany accounts for 45 per cent of this and is by far the most important market for the Belgians. Bens mainly supplies pork to industrial customers and wholesalers. "We prefer to deliver our goods to Frankfurt am Main rather than Ghent. The drivers on the German roundtrip are often back first," says Laeremans. The marketer makes the German customers happy by offering maximum flexibility. It is no problem for Bens to supply special cuts on request, for example.
The Vision: Robots taking care of cuttingAround 20 per cent of the pork is sold within the European Union and 25 per cent to non-EU countries. Bens sells to customers in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, among others, and also serves markets in Africa such as Angola, Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa.