Offshore ambition

With origins dating back to 1981 when it was located on the opposite side of its current Merwede River location in the Netherlands, Holland Shipyards has grown to become a unique and flexible provider of tailored shipbuilding solutions to both the inland and offshore markets. Initially starting out as a ship repair facility known as Instalho Scheepsbouw BV, the organisation was focused on the ship building arena until the mid-1990s when its turned to the field of hull construction especially in foreign markets. The company turned to Eastern Europe and countries such as Romania, before becoming one of the first Dutch businesses to establish construction in China. Its separate Chinese company for ship brokerage and hull construction, Concordia, was founded in 2000 and has been highly successful, building over 100 hulls for inland shipping since its inception. Following this development and the fact that the organisation conducted all the finishing of its inland navigation vessels onsite, while expanding into the offshore and short sea projects arenas, a shortage of space soon became a complication spurring Holland Shipyards to take over a new facility in 2007.

Today, the company is headquartered at Hardinxveld Giessendam covering an area of over 24,870 square metres including a 1580 square metre shipbuilding hangar, slipway that can be used for the construction of vessels up to 100 metres in length and a 245-metre mooring quay. Though a relatively small company, Holland Shipyards has an increasing focus on offshore related projects especially in the temporary accommodation vessel area, while maintaining activities in hull construction, the finishing of vessels and offshore support solutions. Its highly experienced and dynamic workforce has the ability to construct new vessels from scratch and finish a broad range of short-sea transport vessels, inland vessels and sailing vessels to customer specifications. The unique joint venture agreements with Concordia Shipyards BV, Instalho Scheepsbouw BV and various hull builders across the world enable the company to complete projects with excellent co-ordination and close collaboration between the client, Holland Shipyards and its various subcontractors. As a result of its flexibility, the organisation enjoys lucrative relationships with customers ranging from one-man enterprises and constructions to large Dutch shipping companies.

“Because we are so small we are able to stay in constant communication with our clients, while presenting them with flexible and advanced vessel designs, which is where our key strength lies,” Marco Hoogendoorn, marketing manager of Holland Shipyards explains. “Larger shipyards, though phenomenal in what they do, are often constricted to a standard product line and are so large that they can lose flexibility. It is the smaller, niche yards, such as ourselves that are able to make adaptations to designs, talk through individual options with clients and source better alternatives to aid our customers in getting value for money. While some areas such as the inland navigation vessels are becoming more standardised, we pride ourselves on the tailored capabilities we offer, and the capacity to develop and deliver a unique solution in a very short time frame.”

Most recently the organisation has been employed in the delivery of two substantial accommodation barges catering for over 320 people each. Contracted by Wagenborg Offshore for its support activities in the Kazakhstan area of the Caspian Sea that included ice breaking and constructing pontoons for transportation means, these two vessels known as Puccini and Bellini are set to meet a distinctive need. In the past few years the Caspian Sea has grown in importance for the oil and gas industry, yet personnel are unable to reside on site due to the dangers of escaping H2S gas. Accommodation units therefore need to be highly moveable resulting in the creation of accommodation barges – so far Holland Shipyards has delivered approximately 1000 beds to this area. The Puccini barge measures over 116 metres in length and was delivered in October 2009, while the Bellini, also measuring 116 metres in length, was delivered in June this year.

Marco highlights some of the company’s other activities: “We are currently working on the Aft-ship, Ijsseldelta, a dredger that boasts a capacity of over 2000 cubic metres for ship owner Van der Kamp BV, as well as an environmentally friendly vessel for use in the inland shipping market. Alternatively, we are actively exploring the offshore market and have recently put together a prototype of a temporary offshore accommodation unit that offers a containerised solution for swifter and easier handling. We hope that this will be utilised on facilities such as drilling rigs and wind farms for temporary operational periods of up to six months.”

Accommodation solutions are fast becoming an area of expertise for the company, not only because of its tailor-made capabilities but its ability to deliver in very short lead-times as well. The Puccini and Bellini contracts, for example, took only 16 weeks to complete from commissioning to final delivery. Indeed, Holland Shipyards’ varied workforce and generations of experience means it is able to carry out almost any floating project and it has been involved in the design of tugs, anchor handling, supply and crew tendor vessels, while at the same time looking into further dredging projects.

As part of its strategy to gain new business and further establish the Holland Shipyards name within its niche market, the organisation attended the 2010 SMM conference held in Hamburg from the 6th to 10th September. This event proved to be a highly lucrative forum for making new contacts, meeting new clients and discussing ventures with peers. “We met a lot of interesting people at the conference and are optimistic that some of these contacts could turn into new business. We also believe that the general attitude of the industry is changing and that we might experience an influx of investments that were previously postponed due to the economic crisis. A lot of vessel developments and upgrades are becoming inevitable, but we feel that people are not so anxious about spending and are more confident in gaining quotes,” Marco notes.

In the past two years, Holland Shipyards has spent a great deal of time and effort in re-inventing itself to meet the ever-evolving needs of the industry and the challenges companies faced in light of the economic crisis. In October 2010 the company is due to receive its ISO 9001 certification, bringing yet another credential to its already buoyant service portfolio. A branding and marketing strategy has been put in place to increase the organisation’s reputation and recognition in its newly penetrated markets. Events such as the SMM conference, prestigious projects like that of Wagenborg Offshore and unique developments much like the containerised accommodation units all allow the company to take a step forward in its ambition to gain market share and specialised status.

Recently delivered two premier accommodation barges

Plans to further penetrate the offshore market

Attended SMM 2010 to make new industry links