9 Mar 2023

Damen Shipyards Changde - supporting its local community

In focus: ✔ Damen Shipyards Changde ✔ Sustainable Development Goals ✔ Sporting events ✔ Gender equality

Damen Shipyards Changde (DSCh) is a fully Damen-owned shipyard in China which has been producing vessels built to the highest standards at competitive price levels for more than 30 years. Located in the city of Changde in the province of Hunan, its modern production facility has up-to-date tooling, a highly skilled workforce and professional management covering the complete shipbuilding process from engineering and production through to commissioning, delivery and regional support services. The yard’s product focus is tugs, workboats, high-speed vessels and dredgers for the export market worldwide.

Supporting employees and the local community

“At DSCh we are fully subscribed to Damen Shipyards’ Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and that includes being committed to both safeguarding the well-being of our workers and to contributing to our local community in which we operate,” says Sophie Chen, DSCh’s Administration Manager. “As well as ensuring on-site safety we encourage our employees to lead healthy lifestyles. For example, in China smoking is still widespread among the general population, and DSCh is no exception with around 65 to 70% of the employees active smokers. As a lifestyle choice it is a difficult issue to tackle but the yard runs on-site campaigns to raise awareness of the harmful impact that smoking can have on individuals’ health.” Last year the yard also encouraged its staff to sign up to the ‘Stoptober’ initiative that asks smokers to give up the habit for just a month so as to experience the benefits of going smoke free.

The yard is also involved in the local community, supporting a range of activities and giving assistance to those in poverty. This includes organising sporting events with other companies in the area, such as including football matches, and badminton and basketball tournaments. “These are good team-building activities that benefit everyone involved,” says Sophie Chen.

Anti-poverty campaigns in cooperation with the local authority help poor people in different ways, such as giving assistance to help individuals access vital services like health insurance, education subsidies, pension plans etc. The yard also sponsors a village that has a high level of deprivation with donations of food, clothing and financial aid.

Working towards a cleaner environment

As well as its own internal initiatives to reduce its emissions, DSCh supports the local government’s initiatives to restore the surrounding environment. Among other actions, employees contribute their time to clearing the rubbish that accumulates on the banks of the River Yuan on which the yard operates. Visible actions like these are good for morale and demonstrate the company’s contribution to the local environment.

DSCh is also rolling out its own waste treatment system to ensure that the waste water that it puts back into the river is free of contaminants.

Gender equality

“Gender equality is an area where we have a good place to start from,” says Sophie Chen. “Women have always had a significant role in the Chinese workplace and at DSCh  we can be found in a wide range of roles including welders, production engineers and painters. In the senior management team there are four female managers including myself out of a total of sixteen. Damen is good at encouraging women to apply for significant roles throughout the organisation.”

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