History of excellence

The Kooiman Group is comprised of three Dutch shipyards and a further five companies dedicated to building and repair work, the largest of which is Scheepswerf Gebroeders Kooiman situated in Zwijndrecht. This yard was founded in 1884 and today has two docks with lifting capacities up to 1000 tonnes, slipways up to 110 metres in length, and outfitting quays up to 150 metres. It is capable of delivering a wide range of services covering newbuilding, modification, and repair. The yard has its own design department, carpentry workshop, and machining workshop for working on all types of engines, rudders, piping, furniture and other outfitting.

The second largest shipyard is Scheepswerf Hoebee, located in Dordrecht. It too can handle a wide range of repair and newbuild services for many different vessels types, including double-walled tankers, dry cargo ships, crane barges, tugboats, dredging vessels, pontoons and other inland and seagoing vessels. Facilities include a new slipway for vessels up to 150 metres, machining shop, carpenter, and electrical workshop. Established in 1815, it is the oldest yard of the group. Scheepswerf van Os, the third yard, is smaller but offers two horizontal undercover slipways and two outdoor slipways at its location in Yerseke. It carries out newbuilding, modification, and repair work on smaller vessels such as fishing boats, push boats, tugs, inspection vessels, yachts, and pontoons. It joined the Kooiman Group in 1995.

One of the strongest features across The Kooiman Group is its ability to deliver in-house design alongside fabrication and manufacture. This means that Kooiman-produced ships are bespoke, each one an individual intended to meet the requirements outlined by clients. Meanwhile it achieves competitive prices through strategic subcontracting of steelwork to low cost regions such as Eastern Europe, China, and Turkey whilst retaining outfitting duties at its own yards. That means customers receive a low cost yet high quality product.

A recent example of this is The Kooiman Group’s work on the largest vessel it has yet constructed. Business development director Jos Blom talks about it in more detail: “Our client Reimerswaal Dredging previously had dredging vessels repaired and converted in our yard and was very satisfied with the result, so we approached it to develop a design for a trailing suction hopper dredger the company wanted to build. Immediately after we completed the design and presented a price the market collapsed so a hold was placed on it, but one year later the company had managed to arrange financing and restarted the project.

“The dredger has many facilities. It can carry out normal duties such as maintenance dredging, used to keep rivers and canals at a proper depth before dumping excess soil out at sea. However the vessel also has its own self-emptying installation that allows the hopper to empty itself by pumping cargo onto the shore, making it useful n land reclamation or beach suppletion projects. Further the vessel is equipped with a dry-unloading system, comprising a bucket wheel unloader unit with a conveyor belt system and shore conveyor belt enabling discharging its cargo to the shore. This multi-utility makes it unique. Most dredgers are built for a single purpose but the Reimerswaal Dredging boat has all facilities incorporated into one vessel.”

The Kooiman Group spent approximately 12 months designing the to meet the complicated demands placed by the owner. In addition to its versatile dredging and unloading features it also bears dynamic positioning for added functionality. The hull was built in Romania under Kooiman supervision and launched during October 2012, while she was outfitted at Scheepswerf Gebroeders Kooiman, receiving enthusiastic approval from the owner. The complexity of this project proved to be The Kooiman Group’s biggest job yet but its success in delivering the product illustrates the group’s wide ranging and high quality skill.

“We focus on individual designs and the market knows that The Kooiman Group can develop any requirements into a competitively priced design,” Jos says. “That is our strength. Most customers, such as Reimerswaal Dredging, come with that knowledge in mind to receive an individually tailored ship that doesn’t suffer from the negative aspects sometimes associated with purchasing a standardised vessel.”

The Kooiman Group has extensive building capacity and the last two years have not seen this fully utilised due to generally low activity in the market. As a medium sized organisation focused on bespoke designs, however, it only needs a few orders to survive and it has gained enough of these to ensure business has remained steady. Focusing on its strengths in newbuilding has been essential. Furthermore, its ability to take on repair work as an additional business stream by which to maintain a healthy financial situation.

Jos ends by explaining that remaining focused on its strengths will be the key to The Kooiman Group’s outlook over the coming years: “We want our range to grow but in a controlled manner. Our main aim has been and will always be to satisfy customers by fulfilling their requirements and creating designs that meet their expectations. The Kooiman Group has roots stretching back nearly 130 years and we look forward to many more years in our sector.”

Kooiman Group
Recently launched dredger
Bespoke in-house designs
Extensive engineering skills