In Depth: Dutch Shipyards Are Looking to the Future

Shipyards are the backbone of the Dutch maritime cluster. For centuries, these shipyards have been a breeding ground for innovation.

From the 18th-century cargo ships that sailed the seven seas, to the high-tech vessels that are launched today, it all started with an idea combined with determination. It is an industry that can lean on the knowledge gathered by many generations.

Dutch shipyards are looking to the future and get motivated instead of discouraged when told that it cannot be done. Maritime Holland asked several shipyards on what new projects they are working on and how they see the future.

Bijlsma Wartena

Bijlsma Wartena is developing three sustainable Multi-Purpose Vessels that are contracted by Rijkswaterstaat. The successful launch of the first ship took place on March 16.

“Sustainability, innovation and efficiency are the key drivers of our shipyard,” says Tjeerd-Wiebe Bijlsma, director of Bijlsma Wartena.

“By serving our customers, we go for quality. We collaborate closely with the client in order to deliver customised solutions. That is the strength of our small and agile organisation.”


“Last year we won the tender that was issued by Rijkswaterstaat to build a series of three MPV-30s. The first two vessels will be delivered by the end of 2018 and the last vessel will be delivered spring 2019. On March 16, 2018, the successful launch of the Merwestroom, the first MPV-30, took place.

“This ship was designed and built by Bijlsma Wartena. Due to the rotatable propulsion, the MPV-30 can navigate in all directions, allowing it to perform activities such as marking the waterway, patrolling duties, conducting soil and fishery research.”


“By designing these vessels we focused on sustainability and efficiency. Where other ships require a vessel to turn on generators at all time, our vessels only require generators to work for 3.5 hours per day. A performance measurement system is installed such that the crew is aware of the degree to which the generator works efficiently. When there is an excess of energy, it is not discarded like in conventional ships.

“In contrast, the excess flows to the large package of batteries that the vessels is equipped with and can be used later on. In addition, the residual heat from the engines is used for the heating installation of the ship. Besides that, the solar panels that are installed on the roof are another source of energy. Because of these sources of energy, the consumption of fossil fuels is low. This causes the CO2 emissions of these vessels to be extremely low. On an annual basis, the vessels ensure a reduction of 20,000 kilogrammes of CO2 emissions. Lastly, the three MPV-30s that we are building for Rijkswaterstaat have a hydrodynamic hull and therefore experience little water resistance.”


“Cooperation between shipyards will strengthen the Dutch competitive position. Keeping each other up to date on novelties is essential as we can keep continuously improving ourselves. It is important to develop multifunctional ships with a sustainable character and to be innovative. Innovation is key for the Dutch shipbuilding industry as we are part of a true knowledge economy.”

Shipyard De Hoop

Shipyard De Hoop is currently in the process of finishing a 135-metre River Cruise Vessel for Lueftner Cruises.

“The challenge is to make these ships as silent as possible. Fuel savings are also important nowadays. Next to that we are always looking to increase comfort for the guests. Think of climate control and the lay out of the cabins. The cruise vessel will be very luxurious,” says Patrick Janssens, CEO of Shipyard De Hoop.

Another recent contract is for building six tugs for the TCO project of Caspian Offshore Construction from Kazakhstan, for the further development of the Tengiz Oilfield. The tugs will primarily be tasked to assist barges and vessels along a 75-kilometre long channel, through the shallow waters of the Caspian Sea, to the offloading facilities at Prorva.

Unique design

The series of six are of two different custom designs - four larger and two smaller. The larger tugs will feature azimuth stern drive propulsion and have a bollard pull of 14 tonnes, while the smaller vessels will be assigned as harbour tugs, with a bollard pull of 30 tonnes. Both designs are characterised by a special hull, with a shallow draught and large diameter propellers. The first tug Kabanbay Batyr, with yard number 481, was delivered on March 19.

Due to the special requirements for operating in the channel and at the offloading facilities in TCO project, the tugs have specific designs, developed at in-house at De Hoop. Both designs are characterised by a special hull, with a shallow draught and large diameter propellers.

“The designs of these vessels are unique. There were no standard designs available.”


Shipyard De Hoop has also secured an order for the design and construction of an innovative expedition cruise vessel for Celebrity Cruises. The vessel, to be named Celebrity Flora, will be constructed entirely at the Lobith facilities.

“Celebrity Flora will mark an evolutionary turning point in the approach to ship design. Designed and classed for worldwide service, the cruise vessel is optimised for experiencing the land and marine environment of the Galapagos in high comfort. Celebrity Flora will be the first vessel to be built according the latest probabilistic damage stability regulations, and therefore complies with the relevant Rules and Regulations for 2020, supplemented with the client’s constraint to comply with a two-compartment damage stability regulation.

“Furthermore, other than complying with future international rules and regulations, the vessel also commits to specific Galapagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby explicit environmentally low-impact (exterior) features and materials were applied.”

“With many Dutch suppliers and subcontractors on the client- approved ‘makerslist’, this project is a great opportunity for the Dutch shipbuilding industry as a whole,” says Janssens.

“At the moment the market is still weak and the prices remain under pressure. In this environment the Dutch maritime cluster keeps on delivering unique and innovative vessels. This is something we should be proud of.”

Kooiman Marine Group

Early this year Kooiman Marine Group delivered the innovative patrol boat RPA 8 to the Rotterdam Port Authorities. This ship distinguishes itself in terms of hull shape, propulsion system, efficiency and emissions in comparison with comparable vessels in the market.

For a Dutch owner, Kooiman Marine Group is building a chemical tanker. This vessel is customer specific designed and will be operating the inland waterways of Western Europe.

Recently the construction of the hull for an inland waterway barge with suction pipe and sieve installation commenced. Delivery of this ship will be during the second half of this year.

LNG bunker pontoon

For Titan LNG Kooiman Marine Group developed an LNG bunker pontoon. Delivery of this pontoon is scheduled for early 2019. It will be the first floating LNG bunker station in the Netherlands and is intended for the bunkering of LNG for both seagoing and inland waterway vessels.

The conversion of the DC Eems from a sea going cargo vessel into a suction hopper dredger with its own dry unloading installation is nearing its completion. The vessel is renamed into DC Brugge and is expected to commence dredging operations relatively soon.

Maintain production

“It is our expectation that the current market situation for new building and repairs will stay at the same level with possibly some increase in one or two sectors and some decrease in others. For our company being involved in repairs, major conversions and new building of custom developed ships, we expect to be able to maintain our production at a steady level till the end of this year.”

“In our point of view the focus will be more and more on the reduction of exhaust emissions. Such can be achieved with the implementation of LNG propulsion system and / or a hybrid propulsion installation. In addition, a substantial improvement on lowering exhaust emissions can be achieved by improving on the hull resistance of a vessel like we did with the delivered patrol boat RPA 8.”

Damen Shipyards Group

“In the offshore wind industry Damen is really challenging the role played by helicopters as the traditional personnel transport method,” begins Damen Programme Manager Innovation Solco Reijnders.

“We are moving forward from the success of the Bibby WaveMaster - a vessel designed for long-term support, autonomy and crew comfort - to develop the Fast Crew Supplier 7011. Specifically designed to replace helicopters for offshore transport, this vessel combines speed with high passenger capacity.”

Reijnders also points to the harbour, terminal and public transport sectors to demonstrate industry trends: “We are seeing a move towards cleaner propulsion systems involving diesel-electric or fully electric systems.”

Efficient operations

Responding to the general trend that the shipbuilding industry is becoming more technology-driven and is demanding more innovative solutions, Damen is working with forward-looking technologies.

“Digitalisation of on-board systems allows us to use this vast amount of data to develop new tools for our clients and their operations.”

“We are also experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), which, don’t forget are two fundamentally different technologies. In teleporting the user to a virtual location, VR allows designers and engineers to experience their own designs. And we can use AR to digitise processes in our yards - to complement hands-on operations of our personnel in order to make their work easier and more efficient.”

Looking beyond borders

In terms of cooperation, Damen participates in numerous pre-competitive research programmes within the Dutch maritime cluster.

“These are mostly at the fundamental stages of research; studying detailed subjects of the ship design process,” he notes.

“In executing these programmes together and sharing our facilities, the research undoubtedly benefits. And this, of course, enables us to develop rapidly as one maritime cluster.”

Although cooperative research within the Dutch maritime sector is of clear significance, Reijnders is also keen to point out the importance of looking beyond national borders.

“European research is also pushing the limits and accelerating the technology towards, for example, cleaner fuels.”

Royal Bodewes

Royal Bodewes is involved in some interesting projects. NB-742 and NB-743 (MV Eeva VG and MV Mirva VG) are hybrid ships where the main engine can operate on processed fish oil. To minimise the emissions the ships main engine is optimised for normal service. To reach the requested power of the ice class regulations, additional power can be added on the shaft by an electric motor. Having this boost system, the propulsion can also be taken over by the auxiliary engines which makes the vessel diesel electric.

Coaster NB-744 (MV Ina Lehmann) is the first coaster delivered and certified according to IMO Tier 3 emission regulations. NB-803 (MT Coralius) is the first European built LNG feeder/bunker vessel in its size. NB-766 and 767 (MV Furuvik and Cymbidium) are both Ecotraders with a Groot Crossbow which are executed as self-discharging cement carriers.

“Royal Bodewes is constantly optimising its building process and started in 2015 with a new building facility on the yard. This optimisation is a continuing story as we start this summer with an expansion on the existing halls.”

Changing future

“With respect to the Dutch maritime cluster, we see a changing future. We believe that the market is slowly recovering. There is a growing interest in new ships although ship newbuilding prices will stay under pressure. The maritime cluster has to be innovative and gain more efficiency to withstand the competition from low cost countries.

“The maritime infrastructure in the Netherlands with shipyards, co-makers and suppliers is important to withstand the competition in the international market. With this maritime cluster we are playing a unique role worldwide.”

Holland Shipyards

Holland Shipyards is continuing on the delivery of the IJveer 60 and IJveer 61 to GVB, the public transport company of Amsterdam.

These deliveries have led to the securing of a follow-up order for two more ferries and an optional three. These hybrid ferries, with diesel-electric and battery propulsion and exhaust gas cleaning, are the result of Amsterdam’s aim to become a green city.

“We are currently building a repeat order of plain suction dredgers. This indicates that Holland Shipyards is making work of developing standardised products and deepening its product portfolio,” says Marco Hoogendoorn, sales manager Holland Shipyards.

“Expectations are that the market will slowly recover. There are a lot of inquiries. However, they will definitely not all materialize in orders. We have to be careful not to be too optimistic. However, we see a clearly visible upward trend at the moment.”

Order book

Holland Shipyards is looking at a decent order book for this year.

“We expect some additional orders to come through before the last quarter this year. We expect that our experience with hybrid drive-train solutions will fuel a part of our order book, as well as some very good relations with our existing customers. At this moment we are executing a large offshore project for one of our customers, and we expect this project to significantly expand in scope as well, further filling our order book. Also some industry wide tenders are expected. However, we expect competition will be fierce, to say the least,” says Hoogendoorn.

“Where people like to think of the Dutch shipbuilding industry to be a high-tech industry, there is also still plenty of movement in the low-tech side of the market. This typically concerns one-offs and rapid response projects, but nonetheless, there is a good niche there. Standardisation may become less common in the Netherlands, as many foreign shipyards can replicate against lower rates than we can, due to a variety of factors.”

Launching costumer

Holland Shipyards sees that the government is slowly starting to take up its role as a launching customer, which is a good development. On the regulatory side, the yard still sees various parties struggle to reach the latest requirements.

“Also attaining finances has become a determining factor for projects seeing daylight, more so than before. This has raised the requirement for customer financial services to be provided by shipyards or other parties, apart from directly from the conventional institutions. Most notably the private sector and crowd-funding have been big movers in this segment.”

“In the past few years, we have approached a few projects on a joint basis with other shipyards. Some yards are fairly open to collaboration and together we can make more of an impact. More important however, is the collaboration between shipyards and suppliers. In order to remain a technological leader, this connection is far more important. We did see this in the development of some of our hybrid designs, for example. Only by implementing hi-tech or cost-effective solutions, the Dutch shipbuilding industry can remain ahead of the game.”

Thecla Bodewes Shipyards

Thecla Bodewes Shipyards is specialised in the development and building of both standard and client oriented vessels of various type: inland and sea-going. Over the last years the yards have delivered a wide range of very different vessels. In 2016 the Multi-Purpose Bed Leveler Tera Plana was delivered to Boskalis followed by the Spring 2017 delivery of a small specialised Ro-Ro Cargo Vessel to a French client and in September last year the River Ferry Zilverstad to Dutch shipping owner Ferry Service Schoonhoven.

Caspian Sea

Furthermore, over the last months of 2017 the third triple propelled Inland Pusher Sheila J. has been delivered to a Paraguayan shipping company. Also the first of three ice class 1C very shallow draught Pusher tug to the Caspian Sea was delivered. In October after a construction time of only three months an IMO 2 chemical barge was delivered to Kazakhstan just before winter closure of the Caspian Sea entrance channels.

Unique design

For 2018 new and exciting developments are contracted and planned. Besides the second and third Ice pusher for Russia, the first Flyshooter with electrical winches will be delivered to a Dutch owner. The last project is a breakthrough for the yard. It is also a step forward in innovation, control of fishing gear, maintenance cost and hygiene. Most recently in close cooperation with Conoship International a state-of-the-art aluminum passenger ferry has been contracted for a German ship owner. Very light-weight and shallow draught with highspeed and small fuel-efficient engines, this unique design is specially developed to sail for day passenger and special charter trips. The ferry will be delivered in spring 2019.

“Looking forward we will continue in successfully adding value for our clients by focusing on their needs while creating an optimum balance between design and production efficiency,” says Thecla Bodewes, CEO and owner of the Dutch shipyard.

Royal IHC

As the technology innovator Royal IHC designs and supplies vessels and equipment that enables our customers to outperform and add value to their activities. The company’s products will maximise the uptime and performance and minimise operational costs. The past year Royal IHC had some very challenging and innovative projects.

In the dredging market we have designed, built and delivered in 2017 world’s first LNG powered hopper dredgers - Scheldt River and Minerva - for DEME in 2017. Another innovative project Royal IHC are currently working on for DEME is world’s largest self-propelled cutter suction dredger Spartacus. The vessel will be 164 metres long and the first LNG powered cutter suction dredger in the world.

In January IHC launched the DC Orisant, a versatile gravel hopper that it suitable for both the dredging and offshore wind market. It is the first complete diesel electric aggregate dredger on the market, which enables it to sail at the most economical speed in all situations.


In the offshore market Royal IHC have secured an order for an integrated reel lay vessel for Subsea 7. The vessel will be unique for its compact dimensions which are facilitated by the creative positioning of its three engine rooms and main reel, efficient use of the superstructure, and low-profile pipelay ramp.

The design of the reel lay system focuses on operational efficiency and flexibility, alongside crew safety. In addition to maximising performance and minimising operational costs, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important driver for vessel innovations.

Vessels have to comply with stricter regulations for exhaust emissions. This means that an alternative has to be found for heavy oil, like alternative fuels or after-treatment. In the future, the importance of CO2 reduction will increase and this will determine how vessels will operate. In the long run, vessels can no longer sail on fossil fuels and we will have to find alternatives such as batteries and hydrogen.

In addition, energy saving remains an important driver for innovations such as more efficient hull forms, energy-efficient drive systems and temporary energy storage.


Dutch shipyards will continue to distinguish themselves on innovative and complex vessels. Royal IHC’s distinctive capacity lies in the fact that the company can perform such complex, high risk projects competitively and quickly. In addition, sustainability aspects will become increasingly important and Royal IHC thinks that Dutch shipyards will (have to) be at the forefront in the design and construction of vessels that are based on sustainable energy systems.

Collaboration within the maritime cluster is important to realise the ambitions mentioned before. Particularly the cooperation with innovative suppliers who will deliver reliable solutions and components that make new technologies, such as batteries, alternative drive systems and alternative fuels, applicable in ships.

This article was previously published in Maritime Holland edition #2 – 2018.

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>


<< Jun 2018 >>
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 1


TRANSTEC 2018 welcomes participants to explore Russian Ports and Shipping development opportunities…

read more >

Europort 2018

From 15-17 May 2018, the 12th edition of Europort Romania willl take place in the IDU Hall in Constanta…

read more >

The 27th World Gas Conference

The 27th World Gas Conference is the leading global industry event and is the definitive gathering of influential leaders, buyers and sellers, policy-makers and experts from around the world.

You will hear critical business insights and lively debates on the most topical issues facing the global gas industry today and in the future.

From 25-29 June 2018, Washington DC is expected to host 12,000 attendees, 500 speakers and 350 exhibitors representing, more than 600 companies from 100 countries.

Presented by the IGU, this is the largest and most high-profile gas event that is conducted by the industry for the industry.

Read More

read more >

SMM 2018

This is a must-attend event – a unique opportunity to meet key players, display business strengths, establish new contacts and exchange…

read more >