Bright future with Dutch suppliers

Flexibility and innovation benefit for Russia

Ever since the time of Peter the Great, there have been strong nautical ties between Russia and the Netherlands. Not only were both nations important trading partners, but over the past centuries both countries shared their knowledge on shipbuilding making it a prosperous and important industry for their economies. And still we trust on each others strengths when difficult projects are faced, such as the successful salvage of the Kursk submarine. Our maritime industries have accomplished much together and the future looks bright: there is plenty of opportunity to achieve even more!


Believe it or not, but there are quite some similarities between Russia and the small country of Holland. One of them is the importance of rivers to our economies and the fact that both countries have an allround developed maritime sector. This mix of shipping, port activities, dredging, inland shipping, ship design, shipyards, offshore technology, yacht building, the Navy, and marine technology institutes, creates numerous possibilities for the marine equipment industries. The unique strength of The Netherlands' maritime cluster is that all aforementioned sectors are located within a relatively small radius creating a true Maritime Valley!

International developments

Due to tough competition of Asian countries the Dutch shipbuilding industry has changed over the past decades into a flexible and highly innovative industry specialised in building ships for dredging, offshore, (super)yachts, navy and inland and short sea shipping. Markets that are equally dealt with by the Russian marine industry and where tighter business relations are in the benefit of both sides.

The period of restructuring the Dutch marine industry posed many challenges to marine equipment suppliers and like the shipyards, most suppliers have chosen to specialise in niche markets as well. Others refined their production methods to such a level of efficiency that they simply followed shipbuilding to Asia and are still able to compete with local competitors.

These strategic changes are paying off for the Dutch marine industries. In the first half of 2006 Dutch shipbuilders consolidated orders for 110 commercial vessels, 59 of which for foreign account. Among them two tugs for Russian company Caspian Offshore and a dredger for Baltdraga.

In 2005 Dutch marine equipment suppliers achieved an annual turnover of € 3 billion, 60% of which turnover is export related. As a result of the highly developed maritime sector, equipment for almost any type of ship can be supplied by the Dutch.

World wide growth in demand for ships is expected to continue in the next 15 years and so is the shift of geography of shipbuilding. It is expected that South Korea will consolidate its market share, while China rapidly takes over as market leader. The market share of Eastern Europe including Russia will double in numbers compared to its current status. On the other hand shipowners tend to remain European and Europe will still be the marine technology base. Closer technological co-operation between European yards (both in East and West) and marine equipment suppliers based on the needs of shipowners is necessary in order to be efficient and to keep the technological edge over Asian shipyards. This is a challenge that we face together in the coming decade and the Dutch marine equipment suppliers are ready to be your business partner!

Global presence

The Netherlands have the best reputation in the world when it comes to yachtbuilding, thanks to a committed and highly innovative supplier industry and making it the third superyachtbuilder in the world with a market share of 12%. In custom built superyachts however, the country is the absolute market leader. As Dutch marine equipment suppliers are active internationally, this knowledge and technology is also available for the Russian yacht industry.

Other markets that are important to both Russia and The Netherlands, are dredging and inland shipping. The development of Dutch inland port structure, inland ships and their equipment is on a higher level than anywhere else in the world. The Netherlands has the biggest fleet of inland ships in Europe, which has just had a period of modernisation and upgrading. This expertise is available to the Russian fleet as well, so why not work together with the Dutch?

There are more opportunities for technological co-operation. For years, the Dutch maritime industry have improved the technology of fishing vessels up to a efficiency level not to be found anywhere else in the world. The most important of those technologies are cooling and freezing, winches, navigation and communication.

Dutch supply industry

The structure of the Dutch marine supply industry consists of several big multinationals but the majority of these suppliers are internationally operating small and medium enterprises. Decades or sometimes even centuries of experience result in high quality, reliable equipment. Moreover, these companies have a unique competitive edge: they are flexible and capable of finding engineering solutions together with you as a client, especially when involved in a project from as early as the drawing board stages.

Dutch marine suppliers are renowned for their organisational skills. Especially in the field of system integration, electric engineering, HVAC systems, propulsion and design, they have something to offer. They are involved as partners of shipyards all over the world in the building of dredgers, heavy-lift vessels, navy vessels, superachts and passenger vessels. Because of this, they can quickly anticipate future problems. Previous experiences help them to find a quick, cost-effective solution. If alterations in the design specifications occur, quick adaptations can be made as well. As time is money, this is of great value to design offices, engineering companies, shipyards and shipowner.

As shipowners or shipyards are important to equipment suppliers, a good relationship with the customer is highly valued. So when doing business in the Netherlands you will find your suppliers to be customer friendly and dedicated to the long-term relationship.

Holland Marine Equipment Association

Holland Marine Equipment Association (HME) represents the Dutch suppliers of maritime equipment and services. The 195 member companies are active in the fields of maritime engineering & contracting, fabrication of installations and components, the supply of maritime services and ship repair.

HME was originally founded to promote exports, which still is an important part of the activities. HME organises Dutch National Pavilions at NEVA, SMM, Europort Maritime, Nor-Shipping, Posidonia, Marintec, Inmex India and APM Singapore, among others. Further, trade missions are organised such as to Russia in 2004 and 2006.

HME also focuses on knowledge transfer and technology, as its member companies recognise that this is vital for the success of Dutch exports. Each year, the Dutch Minister of Transport presents the HME "Maritime Innovation Award" to a company that proved to be the most innovative. In 2005, two companies won the prize. Orlaco Maritime CCTV for their EEX High resolution explosion safe camera and HGG Profiling Equipment for their PCL 600 Cutting Robot Line.

Further, HME supports companies on technical or practical issues, such as:

  • Marketing of Innovation
  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Design to Maintain
  • All Electric Ship Platform
  • Marine Propulsion
  • Sound and Vibration

Go to Index of # 3(17) 2006


# 3(17), 2006