Centrally located in the Hvide Sande harbour on the Danish west coast is Hvide Sande Skibs & Baadebyggeri (HSSB). Since 1950, the company has worked with a large variety of different types of vessels from fishing cutters to modern service vessels for offshore wind farms. Today the shipyard is divided into two main departments – new builds, and service and repair.
“On the new build side we have been constructing vessels for the offshore wind farm industry, which includes delivery of three boats to a new offshore development in Denmark, as well as ferries, and small tug and supply vessels,” describes Carl Erik Kristensen, joint owner of HSSB and manager of the new build division.
“In the service and repair division we have introduced a new concept called the Pit-Stop Service, which is obviously taken from the race car industry,” he continues. “This is particularly aimed at the offshore wind farm service vessels, especially the crew boats, which often have a high day rate and only a few days a year for service and repair work to take place. Under this service we will go out and meet a boat where it is operating and spend a day with the vessel superintendent in order to compile a dock list and take any necessary measurements. This then enables us to prepare all the necessary materials and labour at the yard so that we can complete the work in a short turnaround of as little as 24 or 48 hours from when the vessel comes in.”
This level of service has enabled HSSB to attract vessels from the Netherlands, UK, Norway, Sweden, and Germany looking to benefit from the short downtime and extensive works capability afforded by the pit-stop concept. With two legs to the business though, Carl highlights how the approach to work differs: “A new build project is typically a long-term contract of anything from ten months if it is a standard vessel type to up to two years if it is a completely new design. Therefore we maintain specialist staff to carry out these projects, and then on the other side we have a different team carrying out the repair and service work, which is often carried out under short deadlines.”
Regardless of which department they are dealing with though HSSB always has the customer at the centre of its thinking. “We are trying to sell solutions so it is about listening to what the client needs, whether it is a new vessel for a special purpose or some repairs, and try to deliver a service that meets those demands. Last year we had a client approach us because their passengers were getting seasick on the transfer journey from shore to the offshore wind farm, and they wondered if there were any solutions that could help them. Together with an American supplier called Seakeeper we installed a gyro stabilising concept, which was originally developed for super yachts, into these commercial vessels to minimise the rolling motion,” describes Carl.
With the establishment of its subsidiary business Seasight Offshore Fender Systems, HSSB is today also a specialist in fender systems utilised in the transfer of crew and goods to offshore wind farms. “We developed this particular concept together with another Danish company,” explains Carl. “I think we now have a very good grip on that market with a well known name, and even more importantly the performance of the system is widely recognised. I believe we have the only product on the market that incorporates a measuring system to record the force created by the boat when it docks. This helps calculate the level of friction generated and therefore enables the client to optimise this for the safest possible transfer of personnel.”
Although the downturn in the shipping sector is undoubtedly of concern, as an operator across different markets HSSB has fared well, with particular growth in offshore wind vessels. “When looking at northern Europe we are very much focused on the offshore wind market, which we are trying to follow the growth in through the development of a complete programme dedicated to the sector. We are also working to maintain some of the other business areas we are present in such as ferries and general workboats,” confirms Carl.
“There are new offshore wind farms planned right outside the breakwater to our home port so we are going to follow that development, which will hopefully bring business to the area. If you also look at our location with regards to the planned parks and activities going on in the German bay we definitely have an interesting position. This is also why we can attract some of the crew vessels from the area to our yard for service and repairs. Furthermore we have established a satellite office at the German island of Heligoland to be able to offer service and repairs locally as we see mobility being important for the future,” he concludes.
Hvide Sande Skibs & Baadebyggeri
New pit-stop service
Subsidiary fender business