Damen builds on success in Caribbean market
The Dutch ship and boat builder Damen has been selling tugs and other specialised maritime vessels to customers in the Caribbean since the 1970s and today its ‘Americas Region’ accounts for some 20 per cent of worldwide sales.
In fact, Damen has been so successful, over such a long period, that area manager Alan Borde told Caribbean Maritime:
We see customers that we sold to in the 1970s now returning to us for replacements.
To give a snapshot of Damen’s current performance in the region, at the end of 2017 the company was in the final stages of delivering two Stan Pilot 1505 vessels for the Port Authority of Jamaica. Just before that, Damen had delivered patrol vessels and interceptors to the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard and a FCS 5009 fast crew boat to Trinidad’s National Energy Corp as well as vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
Damen has consistently led the industry in terms of technical innovation and much of its continued success is due to this. It helps explain why the company is doing so well in the United States, where it acts mostly as a designer and systems integrator. Mr Borde told CM: “We have 29 tugs under construction in the US, in cooperation with five different shipyards, ranging from a small line-handling tug to the most powerful ASD [azimuth stern drive] on the market at 150 tons bollard pull. All of these tugs will be operating in the US domestic market.”
Damen, of course, also has its own shipbuilding and repair presence in the Caribbean as a result of its long-time involvement in the Damex yard in Cuba. “Whenever the opportunity arises we are more than willing to build at Damex,” said Mr Borde. “At this time we have a few vessels being built there for clients in and around the region.”
Damen has consistently led the industry in terms of technical innovation and much of its continued success is due to this
In addition, since early 2017 Damen has run the former CDM shipyard in Curaçao. “We are still in the early days of Damen Shiprepair Curaçao,” said Mr Borde. “But in time we will be in a position to send all our regional clients to this yard for maintenance and other work as our services portfolio grows. In this context, it also worth mentioning that, with expanding offshore activities in the Gulf of Mexico, and thanks to the recent Mexican energy reforms, we expect an increasing demand for offshore vessel repair, refit and conversions such as FPSOs, accommodation vessels and offshore support vessels, for which Damen Shiprepair Curaçao can provide a tailor-made service.”
To upgrade the yard, Damen is currently refitting two floating dry docks in Rotterdam. These will be transported to Curaçao in the first quarter of 2018 and the yard will continue to provide capacity in line with the growing demand in the Caribbean region.
“By operating a dockyard of our own that includes two graving docks, two floating docks and sufficient quayside capacity including a designated services hub, we offer turnkey solutions in the Caribbean region,” said Lodewijk Franken, managing director of Damen Shiprepair Curaçao: “In essence, we are a one-stop shop.”