A Complete Service
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Ben Foster
Kooiman Marine Group has evolved and developed for more than a century as one of The Netherlands’ leading ship designers, builders and repairers, and continues to leverage such experience to this day across a plethora of innovative and bespoke projects.
Existing as a group of qualified companies in the marine sector, the Group’s primary activities are based in its native Netherlands; stemming from the Shipyard Gebr. Kooiman is situated at its headquarters in Zwijndrecht, and is complemented by Shipyard Kooiman Hoebee in Dordrecht where new building, repairs and renovations are conducted.
Both have an open connection to Rotterdam Harbour, and are supported further by operations at Shipyard Kooiman van Os, the design office at Kooiman Engineering, and the electrical facility of Kooiman Marine Electric.
All-told, and as a consequence of subsequent acquisitions and integrations, the overall Group is able to rely on a series of dedicated and customised entities geared up to cater for all potential customer requirements.
“The Kooiman Marine Group was founded more than 130 years ago as a family-owned Company, which she still is. Currently, two Kooiman brothers each own 50 percent of the shares,” adds the Company’s Business Development Director, Jos Blom. “Within the Group, in-house capabilities and facilities include ship design using the latest 3D software; hull new builds; outfitting; ship repair; fabrication and installation of piping systems; carpentry and furniture manufacturing; design, fabrication and installation of marine electricals; design and fabrications of mooring systems; fabrication of anchor and coupling winches; spare part supply; and ship operations.
“Being able to carry out almost all activities related to design, building and repair of vessels within the Group, Kooiman is able to approach every project in an efficient and professional manner, whereby the high Kooiman standards are adhered to.”
New developments and applications
The Company’s turnkey offering is one differentiator enjoyed within the market, and derives from another Kooiman philosophy to be innovative and to veer away from a standardised approach.
This is clearly evident within its new-building projects, where Kooiman Marine Group, unlike other shipyards, does not concentrate on standard ship types.
“The main focus is to build according to the custom built principle,” Blom explains. “Thereby for each project a dedicated design is made in close consultation with the owner. The aim is to implement the owner’s requirements to the maximum extent possible, which results in optimum operational capabilities of the vessel concerned, without having to compromise as you would in the case of a standard design.
“Therefore, Kooiman focuses on new developments and applications in the market, aiming to expand its new building activities and develop several workboats in-line with the specific requirements of the customer.”
Myriad high profile projects have been conducted as a result of this versatility, including a shallow draft push boat design for four ships to be delivered to Veerhaven, and the development of a multipurpose workboat with customer-specific applications which allows the ship to work over both the bow and the stern.
Further innovations have been seen in the development of individual applications across winches, deck equipment, dredging and dry unloading installations, hybrid propulsion systems, and cranes; all of which ensuring unrivalled dimensions in terms of pulling capabilities, capacities, power and – sometimes – just sheer size.
“For a Dutch owner, Kooiman developed a 6,000 cubic metre trailing suction hopper dredger,” Blom details. “The ship has multiple possibilities to discharge its cargo and, in its class, this vessel is the largest in the world.”
Both domestically and internationally, additional projects include a heaviest-in-class commercial ice tug, two 1,500 split hopper barges, and a hybrid tug boat with a bollard pull of 26 tonnes.
The extent of Kooiman Marine Group’s entire operations and integrated levels of customisability are impossible to document in one place as a consequence of the volume and unique nature of each project, but the testament to the Company’s success can be attributed to the ongoing clamour for business alone.
“At this moment, Kooiman has outstanding offers for the design and new-building of various types of vessels like ferries, dredging vessels and patrol vessels,” Blom continues. “In parallel, several proposals have also been sent out for major repairs and conversions.
“Kooiman is confident that out of these quotations, contracts will be secured resulting in sufficient employment for this and the coming year(s).”
Kooiman’s business structure, as opposed to the industry itself arguably, lends itself to operations on a far wider scale than the Western European footprint currently enjoyed, and international expansion is certainly on the Company’s agenda moving forward.
Continuous improvement in general is an ethos instilled into the Kooiman Group fabric, and is compounded internally by a series of capital investments across technological, administrative, equipment, facility and storage upgrades.
Driving each of these of course is an equally refined workforce, the members of which having often been brought into the Kooiman family from a young age.
“In general, Kooiman employees start directly from school and are brought up within the Company,” Blom says. “Most of them then work here until their retirement as they are given the possibility to grow within the Company insofar as the situation allows. By creating a work atmosphere with sufficient challenges and growth possibilities for key personnel, Kooiman aims to have everyone stay on board.”
The importance of a strong employee network is heightened given the in-house nature of Kooiman’s service portfolio, requiring the ability to cater for its steelwork, machinery, outfitting, piping, carpentry, painting and other specialist areas from within. In addition, Kooiman constantly aims to improve on its operation excellence and efficiency, taking the Company to a higher level.
This allows the Company to be strict in adhering to agreed delivery times and prices, reducing risk and unexpected shortfalls for customers. In turn, a foundation for excellence is in place to make the next phase of the Group’s evolution every bit as exciting and prosperous as the previous 130 years.
“Our main goal is to stay in business and perform at the level we currently do,” Blom concludes. “The main philosophy and strategy of the Group is a gradual and controlled growth and expansion, and to continuously invest in the companies to achieve these targets.
“This, until today, has proven to work, resulting in an existence of more than 130 years.”