In Depth: Better an Ounce of Luck…

“We are a small company, with large equipment”, states Jurjan Lammers, commercial technical manager of Geluk BV. Translated to English, ‘geluk’ means luck, something the company has definitely created for themselves. Maritime by Holland Magazine travelled to Cuijk, the Netherlands, to discover the driving force of the company.

Founded in 1859 and thus with over 150 years of experience, Dutch dredging contractor Geluk BV is specialised in dredging, earthmoving and engineering. The small company has 25 permanent employees and a strong family feel: the managing director Jan Geluk comes from a long line of family members to have been involved with Geluk BV. “We are flexible and have few organisational layers”, states Geluk. “Herein lies our greatest strength. We can react quickly and decisively.”

This flexible attitude is welcomed by their customers who are national as well as European. When asked whether the Dutch reputation for dredging is a factor in receiving overseas work, Geluk is quick to comment: “Definitely, the Dutch have a solid reputation abroad. Though we may cost more, people know we are experienced and always perform well. Knowledge and experience are important. You can own a cutter dredger, but this does not mean you will perform well. Machines are not vital to do a good job, knowledge and people are. We can offer this.”

In the coming weeks Geluk BV will be working on a man-made lake in Kühtai, Austria. This is a unique project in Langental, Austria at a height of 1.900 metres. Lammers: “It is a challenge to be working at this height, the pipes are already there and we are interested to see how the project will go and how our equipment will react.”

Reducing CO2

Geluk BV owns eight dredgers, from cutter suction dredgers to deep suction dredgers and bucket wheel dredgers. Should a client require a different piece of equipment on one of the dredgers, Geluk BV has the in-house knowledge and flexibility to realise these mechanical changes. “Our equipment is not only flexible, but also sustainable”, Geluk smiles. The company’s aim to adapt to more environmentally friendly systems is well-regimented. Their battle plan, spread over many years, is made up of goals to reduce their CO2 footprint. Customers are kept up to date about their plans through their website. Lammers: “Two of our dredgers have electrical driving units for the underwater pump. Next to that, the Wachtendonk and the Biesbosch, both deep suction dredgers, are completely electrical installations.” Furthermore, the company is looking into using synthetic material for their pipes. Geluk: “However, this does propose a slight issue in our major market of abrasive materials, as coarse materials cannot be dredged with synthetic pipes. Though it is a durable solution for finer materials.”

Geluk BV states the dredging market is relatively healthy. Lammers concludes: “One day you may not have enough projects and the next you realise you do not have enough cutter dredgers, it is the way it works.” It appears the only thing that overcomes hard luck, is hard work.

Rebecca McFedries

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