Evolving services

Founded in 1978 as ship repair yard, the Portugal based Navalria Drydocks has evolved since then to offer a variety of other services, including onshore fabrication work and newbuilding. Boasting a 100 metre drydock, 60 metre floating dock, 50 metre slipway and 38 metre ship lift, as well as a variety of offices and workshops, Navalria offers superior construction and repair services to aluminium and steel vessels; it also offers customers repairs on wood and glass reinforced plastic (GRP) vessels.

A significant development for Navalria happened in 2008 when Martifer, a firm involved in renewable energies and steel construction, acquired the shipyard to build a wave energy convertor prototype as part of its Future Lives in Ocean Waves (FLOW) project. The yard was converted to ensure it was suitable to build wave energy equipment, with the same tools used for shipbuilding. When the economic market caused the FLOW project to be put on hold, the company put the facilities to good use by branching into shipbuilding.

Recent contracts for the shipbuilding firm include the construction of two hotel boats, which were commissioned by Douro Azul, a leading river cruise company in Portugal, in March 2012. The first hotel ship, Queen Isabel was delivered in February 2013; it has 59 double cabins on board, a length of 78,111 metres, a width of 1140 metres, and also boasts a swimming pool, restaurant, lounge bar, reception and gift shop. The second ship, Amavida, was delivered in March 2013, giving Douro Azul plenty of time to begin operating the boats during the tourist season from March to October.

The 80 metre long river cruise vessel Amavida has been delivered complete with 54 double cabins and a swimming pool, spas, restaurants, shops and gyms. Both hotel ships are equipped with the state-of-the-art technology in terms of electronic navigations systems and engines; on top of this, to ensure the highest levels of safety are complied to, both vessels have rafts, floats, life jackets, fire detection and extinguishing devices (fixed and movable) and a complete on board pharmacy with the capabilities to answer first aid situations.

More than 400 Navalria employees worked on the construction of the two ships, a contract that had competition from shipyards in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Benefiting from a solid reputation and past contracts to deliver similar vessels to Douro Azul, such as the construction of an 80-metre vessel with a capacity for 130 passengers in 2010, the company was the logical winner for the 22 million euro contract. In 2012 technical and commercial director Nuno Santos said: “We are proud of what is being installed on board. Extensive facilities are included for the benefit of passengers including regular rooms and suites with balconies, restaurants with verandas, a lounge, swimming pool, spa, terrace deck, helicopter deck, gymnasium, and complete onboard HDTV with broadband internet access.”

The vessels will comply with the most recent European directives for passenger vessels for inland navigation and have Bureau Veritas classification; the two ships will also offer superior maneuverability around the Douro valley through the use of two azimuthal columns for propulsion, each with two counter-rotating propellers and bow thrusters with the capability of forward and sideways thrust.

In addition to hotel boats Navalria has worked on a number of different types of vessels, including the construction of Ro-Pax ferries, river cruisers, day cruisers and a variety of local ship owners such as Transtejo, Via d’Ouro and Douro Azul. Its strategic location gives customers coming from Oporto Airport, Lisbon or the Spainish railway ease of access to the well established shipyard, which can also offer more than three decades of ship repair expertise behind it, giving it the ability to repair vessels including tugs, ferries, dredgers and fishing boats.

Following a stream of high profile projects the company is confident about the future and appears to be in an excellent position to continue with construction and repairs while Martifer waits to begin its FLOW project. This positive outlook is down to Navalria’s competent team and flexibility to customer requests, as Nuno explained in 2012: “The yard is capable of adapting to each client’s particular demands. Furthermore, belonging to a big steel construction group, the yard has immediate access to extensive know-how, machinery, management and workforce.”

With several offers out in the shipping market and tendering processes continuing for other projects, the company aims to maintain the newbuild and repair activities at the shipyard. It is also looking to Europe and Africa for opportunities to offer its proven services on vessels under 100 metres while aiming to gain contracts in the offshore industry.

Navalria Drydocks
Owned by Martifer
Delivered two hotel ships for Douro Azul in 2013
Excellent position to continue gaining future contracts