Long-term relationships are sacred at Damen. Not only with clients, but also with personnel and contracted parties. So, it makes perfect sense that Damen Shipyards and TOS have worked together for as long as Damen Chief Operations Officer Jan-Wim Dekker can remember. We found out about his first memories of TOS, how Damen has developed over the years and how the collaboration with TOS has evolved along the way.
How did you first come into contact with TOS?
‘I began at Damen in 1994 in the Customer Finance department. Cees Moolenburgh was the Financial Director at the time and his assistant, Trudy, is the partner of Kees Wagenaar. So, I have known Kees from the moment I began working here. And I knew Joop Keesmaat, Kees’ business partner at the time, from before 1994 even. Both men are real go-getters who know the maritime world and Damen very well. When they founded TOS in 1992, a collaboration was a logical step. The partnership with TOS has simply always been there.’
What is ‘The Damen Standard’ and how does the TOS service measure up to this?
‘Damen has been growing since the acquisition by Kommer Damen in 1969 and his decision to build stock vessels. The central theme in this development: deliver quality and deliver on time. That is The Damen Standard. The client always comes first. Damen has traditionally always set out into the world. We go looking for new challenges and don’t shy away from unexpected circumstances. That pioneering and adventurous spirit lives at TOS, too. Perhaps it’s typical for Rotterdam or simply part of our maritime identity. Either way, the bottom line is that our companies and our philosophies are a good match. TOS always provides a committed crew with the right paperwork. They know exactly how we want things done and strive for the same level of quality by delivering our ships spick and span. They did this 25 years ago and they still do it today.’
How is Damen preparing for the future?
‘Pioneering and discovering new markets is something we continue to do. We are always trying to come up with new product-market combinations. As long as it meets the wishes of our client and we can deliver the level of quality the market expects of us. For example, we look at the (for our company) slightly larger offshore projects and submarines. And when you think about the future, you also automatically think about sustainability, of course. Such as scrubbers that clean the exhaust gases from our engines. But also, ballast water treatment. And while the law and regulations sometimes lag behind, we are already investing in these techniques. When it comes to sustainability, we like to march at the front. Besides, you cannot look to the future without focusing on technological innovation.’
Can you give some examples of technological developments?
‘With the RSD Tug 2513, for example, we have a revolutionary innovation on our hands. The vessel has two bows, so you can always operate bow first. Additionally, the vessel has a remote monitoring system. Onshore, we can read all of the vessel’s data. We can see if it is in operation, read the temperature of the equipment, the pressure, speed, etcetera. Using this data, we are better able to plan ahead for maintenance and predict wear and tear. This has a tremendous impact on efficiency and costs. Also, we are using more and more digitisation and robotisation in the building of our ships.’
What opportunities do you see for the collaboration with TOS?
‘Kees is a free spirit with a wide range of interests. He has a good understanding of the business we are in so I’m positive that he himself sees plenty of opportunities for TOS. But given the parallels between our companies when it comes to quality, experience and commitment, I certainly see us partnering up even more often in the future. For example, in countries where maritime development is still in its early stages, where together we can really make a difference.
What are you most proud of?
‘Of the fact that we have stood our ground in a very competitive market. We are grateful to our people who have made this possible by serving clients around the world. Clients who have faith in our service and keep coming back
to us. Once again, the long-term relationship… that’s what it’s all about!’