Netherlands Maritime Technology
Source Damen Shipyards
Roel de Graaf
"Dutch shipbuilding has a long history spanning many centuries. In the 1970s and 1980s, the industry redefined itself, away from mass-market ships and towards high-tech, specialised ships. As such, the Dutch shipbuilding industry still prospers today. Large Dutch shipbuilders such as Damen and Royal IHC have grown into multinational companies, while yards like Feadship, Oceanco, Amels, Heesen and Vitters can count themselves among the most important superyacht yards in the world."
Source Royal IHC
The construction of short sea cargo vessels in the North of the Netherlands continues to thrive, despite many economic headwinds over the years. The builders here are renowned the world over for the quality, efficiency and reliability of their vessels.
Newbuilding and repair of inland cargo vessels is also a dedicated industry. 2018 saw a marked improvement in the order books for newbuild inland cargo vessels, based on GT and monetary value, and a healthy boost in the number of deliveries. Repair yards in this segement also reported busy slipways. The Netherlands has the largest fleet of inland vessels in Western-Europe, providing a good basis for a large industry. In addition, Dutch yards are also household names in the construction of river cruise vessels, a bouyant market in Europe.
Shipyards serving the fisheries industry have been enjoying good times lately. Despite uncertainties on the horizon, 2018 was a good year for the fishing sector in terms of profit, just as 2016 and 2017 had been. The number of orders were much higher than what had been seen in the preceding lean years. In addition, the amount of large refits and conversions of existing fishing vessels filling up the quaysides and docks of the fishing vessel yards.
The large ship repair and conversion yards have seen some tough times in recent years, but the market is now starting to improve. Damen Shiprepair has become a market leader in Europe, and continues to expand. In addition, a number of smaller and highly creative repair and conversion yards continue to thrive in the Netherlands.
In total, there are over 100 shipyards in the Netherlands, active in the fields of new construction, conversion and repair of seagoing vessels, inland ships and megayachts.
The Dutch shipbuilding industry in 2018
The Dutch shipbuilding industry in 2018 Activity in the Dutch maritime technology sector, which consists of over 100 yards and 800 maritime suppliers, rose slightly in 2018. The total direct turnover increased to €7.3 billion, some €400 million more than 2017. The total direct employment was 29,072 FTEs, an expansion of almost four percent compared to the previous year.
Newly built seagoing vessels
In 2018, the yards in this category received construction contracts for 39 vessels. At €643 million, the total value of the order intake is comparable to the years 2015 and 2016, but considerably lower than 2017 (when it was €1,138 million). The difference between 2017 and 2018 is essentially due to a few large complex orders placed in 2017. Despite the decline in the number of new orders, the size of the order book remained stable at €1.8 billion. At the end of the year, the collective Dutch order book stood at 77 vessels with a total tonnage of 403,769 CGT.
Fifty-five vessels with a total tonnage of 179,540 CGT were delivered in 2018. The deliveries included 11 seagoing cargo vessels and tankers, as well as seven dredgers and related vessels for hydraulic engineering. The remaining 37 deliveries consisted of tugs, work vessels and other service vessels. The export share in terms of the value of the vessels delivered was 58%.
Inland shipping, fisheries and small seagoing vessels
In addition to the abovementioned yards, which focus on building seagoing vessels larger than 100 GT, there are also numerous yards which construct smaller specialised vessels. These range from large cargo vessels for inland shipping and river cruise vessels to small harbour tugs and pilot boats up to 100 GT. The construction of seagoing fishing trawlers is also included in this category.
These yards did good business in 2018, receiving construction contracts for 185 new vessels (this number was 198 in 2017) and delivering 183 vessels (155 in 2017). While the construction orders received fell slightly in 2018 compared to 2017, there was an increase in GT and monetary value, and a healthy boost in the number of deliveries. The order book has increased considerably in terms of both GT and monetary value, but has remained stable in terms of the number of vessels - 143 with a value of €1,011 million at the end of 2018 compared with 146 vessels worth €814 million at the end of 2017. Luxury river cruise vessels are doing particularly well with 10 new orders. Also, 2018 was a good year for the fishing sector in terms of profit, just as 2016 and 2017 had been. But the uncertainty surrounding the future of pulse fishing and Brexit means that people are holding off on new investments right now.
A great deal of maintenance and many repairs were carried out in the inland shipping sub segment in 2018. The drydocks and quays were well occupied, and astute skippers planned their time at the dock well in advance. This was especially true for the trawler fleet, which underwent a range of major refurbishments on all types of onboard systems.
At 25, the number of superyachts delivered was the same in 2018 as it had been in 2017. The value (€1,473 million) and total CGT (77,166 CGT) of the deliveries were higher in 2018 than in 2017, while slightly fewer orders were received (16 in 2018 compared to 18 in 2017). The total order book at the end of 2018 was 50 vessels above 24 metres in length with an estimated total value of almost €4.1 billion. The average value of the superyachts in the order book increased slightly compared to the previous year. Several yacht builders are currently investing in new production options that will enable them to build even larger yachts. In addition to the trend of superyachts getting bigger, we are also seeing an increasing focus on sustainability in the designs, evidenced in hybrid-drive systems and innovations related to design and material use.
Repair of seagoing vessels
The total direct turnover of the Dutch repair yards was €416 million in 2018 (€381 million in 2017), and the sector employed 1,751 people (1,710 in 2017). The downward trend for this segment was broken for the first time in many years. Broadly speaking, smaller sites were busier than larger ones. There were few major refits and conversions compared to several years ago - most owners continue to keep a tight grip on the purse strings. The outlook for 2019 is slightly more positive.