It’s a tough problem: How does a growing superyacht builder find the perfect property to accommodate its expansion needs? Ideally, the site would be vast, previously fitted for massive construction jobs, and have access to the water. Dutch superyacht builder Oceanco faced this specific quandary, but found the perfect solution in its own backyard. In fact, the second shipyard for Oceanco is already in its hands. In addition, the site will serve as what the builder calls a “superyacht brain park.”
The Heerema Fabrication Group, which builds massive offshore oil platforms, operated in nearby Zwijndrecht. However, it downsized its property holdings in response to a shift in its market. This week, Oceanco gave visiting journalists a first peek at this newly acquired facility. It covers 28 acres in the Drechtsteden region on the Oude Maas river, about six miles (10 kilometers) downstream from the builder’s current outfitting facilities in Alblasserdam.
This second shipyard for Oceanco is in the midst of major transformation. Administration offices and conference rooms; construction, outfitting, painting, and sandblasting facilities; and a piping shop will be in the main area, for instance. This covers approximately 1.2 million square feet (114,000 square meters). The first phase of all new builds will take place in the construction building, which is 1,870 feet by 656 feet (570 meters by 200 meters). Oceanco’s assets manager Bart Pluijmers jokingly refers to it as “the Cathedral,” since it is cavernous.
Yet another building, for outfitting, is about 125 feet high by 433 feet long by 164 feet wide (38 meters high by 132 meters long by 50 meters wide). It’s ideal for refit work. This dovetails with Oceanco’s plans to expand its maintenance and refit capabilities for its own fleet and, to a lesser degree, other superyacht builds.
Dirk de Jong, Oceanco’s commercial director, outlined other ambitious plans, a “superyacht brain park.” The plan is for subcontractors and other superyacht-industry companies to be on the premises, sharing infrastructure as well as expertise. An educational campus for technical training rounds out the vision. Oceanco sees this not only as a way of creating the skilled workers constantly in demand as the industry expands, but as another way for “cross-pollination” between companies on the property.
The second shipyard for Oceanco should receive two 330-foot-plus (100-plus-meter) yachts by year’s end.
Upriver in Alblasserdam, Oceanco is renovating its outfitting facilities to create a greener infrastructure. The builder is passionate about sustainability and believes it must lead the way. Therefore, one focus of renovation is a separate system for exterior paint. Temperature and heat-driven pumps will reduce the need for gas-fired heating by 50 percent. The shipyard is raising the outfitting building’s rooftop about 33 feet (10 meters). Furthermore, Oceanco is adding solar panels that will deliver the equivalent of about 10 percent of its current annual energy consumption. Work is already underway and should be completed within a year.