DISCOVER Magazine #7

Dutch knowledge, Cuban craftsmanship

Published in category: Editor’s choice

Collaboration is key in global consistency

Providing consistent levels of service all around the world. It’s the oft-repeated mantra of the internationally active company, but is it as easy as it sounds? In practice there are numerous factors which can impact on the reality of such claims. Local supply chain structures, cultural variation and the operation of diverse business units, sometimes at great geographical distance from the parent company, are just a few examples of the challenges facing the global player.

Best of both worlds

That’s not to say that worldwide consistency in quality is not achievable, just that there are ways and mean to ensuring it. Once such method is a formal collaboration with a local service provider – bringing your knowledge to the table and teaming up with someone who has real local expertise to ensure a ‘best of both worlds’ service capability.

An example of this is Damex – the Santiago de Cuba-based partnership between the Damen Shipyards Group and Empresa Nacional de Astilleros

From the outset the aim was to provide a regionally focused shipbuilding and repair service, based on the winning combination of Dutch knowledge and Cuban craftsmanship.

That was 27 years ago. Since then, Damex has delivered over 65 newbuild vessels and carried out numerous more maintenance, repair and conversion projects. The yard has the capability to build vessels up to 80 metres in length. These are either taken directly from the Damen portfolio of standard, proven vessels designs, or constructed as custom one-offs, entirely to clients’ needs.

Ro-Ro ship, multipurpose vessel

This broad scope sees the yard delivering vessel types spanning tugs, patrol boats, ferries, tankers and many more, to clients not only in the region, but as far afield as Europe. Additionally, the yard is able to carry out repair projects, from minor steel and aluminium works to full scale conversions, on vessels up to 100 metres in length.

Top of the game

Isidro Campos Castro – Managing Director said:

“Our extensive experience means we are able to carry out complex projects on almost any vessel type. As a part of the Damen Shipyards Group, we are able to provide our clients with the full support of Damen Services. This covers the fast delivery of spare parts, high end training, maintenance support and access to qualified personnel able to carry out the most specialised of tasks.”


A key to Damex’ success is the continual investment it receives. Since the beginning the yard’s facilities have regularly been upgraded and services expanded. Damex has two slipways – one of which, located under cover, is dedicated to the maintenance of vessels up to 400 tonnes and 60 metres. The outside slipway can handle larger vessels and is covered by a tower crane. The yard also boasts its own outfitting quay.

covered slipway for shipbuilding and ship repair works, Damex

Recently, the yard has started operating a specialised mobile service van, in order to assist clients wherever then need it. Of course, this philosophy of investment also encompasses Damex’ 150 employees, who receive regular training – often in the Netherlands – to keep them at the top of their game.

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