28 November 2019: Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf is celebrating 70 years of delivering repair, maintenance, conversion and refit services to the maritime industry. Short turnaround times, a wealth of knowledge from its personnel and a dedicated focus on clients’ needs have been the key characteristics of the yard’s modus operandi over the last seven decades. Oranjewerf’s location – just north of Amsterdam and close to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal and the North Sea Canal – is also a significant factor in its success; this has earned it a respected position serving both the inland and seagoing shipping sectors.
Throughout Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf’s long history, the yard’s services have remained very much unchanged. Founded in 1949 by a consortium of local shipping companies and shipyards, the yard’s major aim was to offer repair services to inland and coastal vessels. Now, 70 years later and part of the Damen Shipyards Group since 1989, Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf is able draw upon that vast amount of experience to continue its work for numerous maritime markets. A look at the yard’s current workforce illustrates this continuity of skills; some of the team have worked there for more than 20 years, one of them for 40 years.
The inland cruise sector is particularly important for Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf. Every year, for example, some 2,400 inland cruise vessels visit the city of Amsterdam. “About 25 to 30 of these come to us and Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam for some sort of docking,” says Jeen van der Werf, sales manager at the yard. The common factor required by these clients is a quick turnaround, something that Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf can reduce to less than six hours.
“This is our specialty – inland cruise vessel operators can drop passengers off at nine in the morning for a nice day exploring Amsterdam, and then be in our drydock at ten o’clock. We make sure that the work is done in time so that the vessel can pick up the passengers at three in the afternoon.”
Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf still works with inland cruise vessels in the off-peak season, but then this is typically for more lengthy jobs such as special surveys or more intense maintenance tasks. For all its work, the yard utilises one dry-dock (135 x 23 metres, with a 6,000 tonne capacity) and one slipway (100 x 11 metres, 1,500 tonne capacity). These are occupied 95% of the time.
Joining the Damen Shipyards Group 30 years ago saw Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf increase its coverage to more maritime sectors. Today, this most notably includes clients from the offshore industry, with ships operating out of IJmuiden and Den Helder, in addition to vessels working in the dredging and cargo sectors.
Mr Van der Werf continues by pointing out that the yard’s location is not the only reason that clients repeatedly come to Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf. “They also love how we work – we have just four people in management so our lines of communication are inherently short.”
“While it is possible to offer clients a docking position at another yard in the Damen Shipyards Group, they are mostly happy wait until the dock is available again. This is because we have excellent relationships with our clients. They know we work, and they want to come here. Each client has their own approach.
We serve our customers 24 hours a day.”