The Netherlands: Maritime Nation Thrives Despite Downturn

By Eric Haun
Friday, October 25, 2013
Photo: Port of Rotterdam

The Netherlands maritime sector has fared relatively well despite turbulent conditions brought about globally by 2008’s financial crisis. The country’s marine businesses combine for an annual turnover near $25 billion, compiling upwards of 2.5% of Dutch earnings. Maritime Reporter explores the Holland maritime cluster, its businesses, trends and outlook.

A seafaring nation for more than five centuries, the Netherlands has a deep-rooted nautical history with a strong commercial connection to the seas. Dubbed “the gateway to Europe,” Holland’s location is highly favorable for marine transport, transshipment, trade and service.
A major maritime cluster prospers throughout the nation, primarily along its rivers and shores.

Today the Dutch maritime industry is broad and diverse, ranging from water sports and electronics to shipbuilders and naval architects. Roughly 2.2% of the Netherlands’ population works in the maritime sector, amounting to more than 185,000 workers domestically, with an additional 60,000 workers employed abroad. According to the nation’s Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands has seen continuously favorable economic growth over recent years, and the World Economic Forum ranks it among the world’s most commercially competitive countries, making Holland a desirable place for conducting business.

The total fleet operating in merchant shipping and seagoing towage under the flag of the Netherlands in 2012 was 1,033 (roughly 750 merchant ships and more than 200 seagoing towage, offshore and pontoons), marking continued growth since the 2008 crisis. Growth is expected to slow over coming years as newbuildings generally create fewer profits due to the global overcapacity within cargo market.

Like in most countries, shipbuilding output was down in Holland for 2012. According to figures compiled by the Holland Shipbuilding Association, deliveries from Dutch shipyards amounted to 95 seagoing vessels, a total of nearly 335,046 CGT with a value in excess of $1.4 billion. Approximately 58% of the seagoing ships produced in the Netherlands are for export.

The amount of new orders placed during 2012 also reflected the depressed global market. Values decreased 35% compared to 2011. New seagoing orders in 2012 reached 61, totaling 166,471 CGT. The order book at the end of 2012 contained orders for 129 seagoing vessels, totaling approximately 593,893 CGT. The order book represented a value of more than $2.7 billion.

Holland’s approach to shipbuilding recovery includes building high quality, complex and technically innovative ships for export: specialized vessels, offshore supply vessels, megayachts, etc.

The nation’s shipbuilders, including two of Europe’s largest and most commercially productive (Damen and IHC Merwede) are on the forefront of vessel innovation. In 2012, approximately 90 inland ships were delivered from the Netherlands, including a large number of non-cargo carrying vessels such as river cruisers, dredgers and patrol ships. Combined, the Dutch total output in the specialized inland sector reached nearly 296,699 GT.

And though inland shipping is experiencing global overcapacity, the Holland Shipbuilding Association predicts an upturn in business outlook due to impending infrastructure and maritime regulations that will likely boost inland shipping as an environmentally-friendly means of transporting goods within Holland and Europe.

The luxury yacht industry has also fared well in Holland as the nation has seen increases in average size and value of orders. Last year 18 superyachts were launched by Dutch builders, and the country’s orderbook lists 59 additional yachts worth more than $2.9 billion to be delivered over the next few years.

Working closely with Holland’s shipbuilders, the country also possesses more than 670 companies that supply services and marine equipment. This market is mostly composed of small enterprise companies but also includes a number of international subsidiaries and companies affiliated to larger Dutch shipbuilding groups. With exports as the sectors main driver (accounting for 61% of turnover), together Dutch maritime suppliers neared a collective turnover of $4.6 billion for 2012, an increase from 2011’s $4.48 billion.

Maintenance and repair in the Netherlands focuses largely on complex conversions and refits in most vessel ranges. The Holland Shipbuilders Association reported growth in the division over 13% from 2011 to 2012. This increase in activity is in large part due to larger scale refit and conversion projects as well as increased traffic in the nation’s major ports.

In terms of annual tonnage, the Port of Rotterdam ranks first in Europe, and third globally. Its gross tonnage has steadily risen in recent years, from 430.2 million metric tons in 2011 to 441.5 million in 2012, placing it 257.4 million metric tons ahead of Europe’s second largest port Antwerp (184.1 million in 2012). In 2012, Rotterdam recorded 32,057 seagoing ship arrivals, 79,487 ship movements of seagoing vessels and roughly 87,000 inland vessels.

(As published in the October 2013 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News -

Maritime Reporter October 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Student Ferry Competition Draws Record Participation

The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association’s (WFSA) international student ferry design competition, geared toward developing a Safe Affordable Ferry, enters its third

Pinnacle Products International Acquires Schaefer Ventilation Equipment

Ventilation and thermal comfort products manufacturer Schaefer Ventilation Equipment has been acquired by Pinnacle Products International, Inc., a developer, manufacturer,

Foss Maritime Opens Houston Office

Foss Maritime has opened a new office and the formed a project management group aiming to support its customer base headquartered in Houston.   John Tirpak of


Groundwork Begins on Successor Subs in UK

Groundwork has started on the renovation of a central shipyard complex that be used for outfitting future Royal Navy Successor submarines, British Forces News said.

Icon Terminates Shipbuilding Contract

Icon Offshore Bhd and its partner FOB Swath Malaysia A/S have agreed to terminate their shipbuilding contract with Denmark-based Danish Yachts AS.    Icon-FOB

Ulstein Debuts DP Construction Vessel

With the ULSTEIN S182 design, ULSTEIN introduces a new dynamically positioned multipurpose construction vessel suitable for shallow water operations. Main design


Custom Boat Delivered to Port of South Louisiana

A custom built 75-foot multipurpose port security vessel built by Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has been delivered for the Port of South Louisiana.   Based

Mooring Safety Improved at Port Taranaki

Scotload, part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has designed and delivered a solution for the monitoring of mooring line stresses at Port Taranaki, a deepwater port in New Zealand.

China: Asian Box Shipping Lines Cut Fees

Asian shipping lines including Japan's Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and China Shipping Container Lines have voluntarily lowered shipping surcharges, the country's top economic planner said on Monday.


Icon Terminates Shipbuilding Contract

Icon Offshore Bhd and its partner FOB Swath Malaysia A/S have agreed to terminate their shipbuilding contract with Denmark-based Danish Yachts AS.    Icon-FOB

Asian Shipping Lines Lowers Fees

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM),

Poland: First LNG Shipment due in Nov-Dec

Poland expects to receive its first cargo of liquefied natural gas at its new LNG terminal at the end of November or early December, the treasury minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.


Dredging in Gulf of Finland in Controversy

The massive dredging project, which is under-way on the bottom of the Gulf of Finland in Russia, reportedly a threat to the environment.   But federal environmental protection agency of Russia,

Wind/Solar Ship Power System Earns Patent

Eco Marine Power’s (EMP) Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) System, a wind and solar power solution for ships, has been granted a patent in Japan, paving way for commercial production.

Meeting Addresses Black Sea Ship Pollution

The Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution – an International Maritime Organization (IMO) observer and implementing partner for capacity-building

Maritime Contracts Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2677 sec (4 req/sec)