Reimerswaal Shipyard

Looking ship shape

Boasting a rich history, Reimerswaal shipyard was established in June 1985 at Hansweert, close to the ports of Vlissingen, Ghent, Terneuzen and Antwerp.

In the beginning it was an old yard alongside the river Scheldt, with two slipways for inland vessels up to 85 metres, repairing inland/fishing and cuckle vessels. The income this generated lead to the owners being able to make certain investments at a later stage in 1989, namely one floating dock (81×14.80 metres) from Sweden for bigger and wider river vessels.

In early 1990 activity started in another location behind the docks using this floating dock and a new workshop, which is now modern and well equipped. Three years later the shipyard purchased another floating dock of 110×14.80 metres, due to the fact it had been forced to turn down several orders because of a lack of dock space. Gradually, Reimerswaal made investments that lead to enlarging the workshop to 2500 square metres and adding a new professional office in 1998. In 2000 however theslipway yard alongside the river Scheldt had to be closed down due to circumstances relating to government and environmental rules.

Reimerswaal continued to build up its reputation, and between 2003 and 2009 its repair volume increased rapidly. The market for coastal vessels changed as larger and wider ships were built but as the maximum width  of the company’s docks at that point was only 14.80 metres, Reimerswaal searched for wide floating docks to accommodate the dimensions of the new vessels and the ones on order. This lead, in the second half of 2005, to the purchase of a floating dock from the Italian navy, whichcame into operation in October of that year with dimensions of 115×18.50 metres.

After this development Reimerswaal was able to enter into a new level of coastal vessel repairs and it lead to work that included conversions for the Dutch and West European markets, which was a new experience for the shipyard. Over the last two years particularly, it has undertaken complex conversions, besides routine dockings, such as converting a navy vessel into a seagoing passenger vessel for 110 people. The shipyard is currently completing a conversion of a Dutch fish factory – lengthening the vessel by 12 metres to 100 metres, installing a new forepeak and a new main engine, upgrading the accommodation and renewing a considerable quantity of steel in tanks. In Spring 2009 Reimerswaal also converted a geographic vessel for Fugro.

Reimerswaal’s marketing manager Jaap van der Reijden elaborates on the shipyard’s client base and most recent advances: “Customers come from a cross section of countries, mostly the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Norway, Finland, the UK, Cyprus, Denmark, Italy and Turkey. In terms of recent developments and investments, July 2009 saw us purchase another floating dock of 117×16.50 metres with a lifting capacity of 4000 tons. This dock replaces the dock of 110×14.80 metres, which will most likely be scrapped. The new dock is on course for opening in mid-September 2009.”

Its unwavering focus on updating the shipyard in line with changing customer requirements has enabled Reimerswaal to gain respect in the industry. Commenting on its other qualities, Jaap says: “The flexibility of the yard’s crew and our management is a strength, and we always have the right personnel in the right place. Our type of work demands a 24/7 approach to working as well as short lines of communication between owners and our yard’s management. Additionally, our staff members know what to do in the event of the unexpected, specifically in terms of handling causalities.”

The economic downturn has presented a challenge to Reimerswaal because there are far less cargo shipments travelling at the moment, resulting in some coastal vessels being inactive for a period of time. Speaking about this change in the market, Jaap notes: “We realise that we and other ship repair yards are seeing a decrease in the volumes of repair work, compared with the previous period of four years. There is more competition between yards as well, who keep an eye on their price and quality levels. We have to commit to high standards whilst delivering competitive prices.”

Continuing, he reveals his thoughts on how Reimerswaal will weather the storm to profitably progress in the future: “It is a question of the relationship between the yard and the shipowner; the latter is in the position to give us, or not give us, the order, and if they don’t like us then we will certainly lose a contract despite having better prices and a more attractive schedule. That’s the game, and so we have to give our serious attention to owners. No one can see into the future – not even economists, who were not capable of foreseeing the extent of the situation we are in now. We hope that the market will pick up and if consumers keep spending then it will happen, albeit slowly.”

Reimerswaal Shipyard

Services: Ship building, repair and maintenance