Feadship has celebrated a major milestone in the construction of its fourth shipyard, located in a prime water-side location in the heart of Amsterdam. In the presence of invited guests, the first concrete was poured into the giant drydock, part of an impressive feat of engineering involved in building such a facility in a city that is several metres under sea level. When completed at the end of 2018, the yard will also include a giant hall for building new superyachts of up to 160 metres in length along with refits of existing Feadships.
The Amsterdam yard will be the second facility operated by Royal Van Lent, which will also continue to operate its Kaag Island yard at full capacity. The two premises will share the same management team and corporate culture, with some 450 skilled employees from across the spectrum of outfitting and refit activities moving between the facilities when required. Along with the two Feadship yards run by Koninklijke De Vries in Aalsmeer and Makkum, there will now be a total of four Feadship facilities in the Netherlands.
The Dutch capital of Amsterdam is already a city with global allure, renowned the world over for its iconic buildings. Now the city will also be the launch pad for some of the finest superyachts available, matched only by those built at the other three Feadship yards.
“This major investment illustrates our determination to be fully future-proof,” explains Feadship director and the CEO of Royal Van Lent Jan-Bart Verkuyl. “The average length of the superyachts we are building continues to grow: the majority of projects currently underway are above 80 metres and there is a clear trend to go ever larger. The size limitations imposed by the location of the two original Feadship yards in Aalsmeer and Kaag were partly solved by the third yard opened in Makkum in 2005, and this fourth facility in the Port of Amsterdam will complete this expansion.”
Port of Amsterdam CEO Koen Overtoom is delighted to see the huge Feadship facility starting to take shape. “Having these amazing vessels built in Amsterdam is a superb addition to our product portfolio. As well as generating new employment opportunities, it is encouraging a further diversification of activities in our port.
“The decision by Feadship to build a state-of-the-art premises in Amsterdam is stimulating other yards and marine equipment suppliers from the superyacht industry to consider doing the same. As a result the Port of Amsterdam has appointed a dedicated sales manager for the large yacht sector. The fact that Feadship will be occupying a five-hectare site with an option for a further 3.8 hectares illustrates how we can expect a bright future for this glamorous industry in Amsterdam.”
Verkuyl and Overtoom were speaking at a time when significant progress is being made on an enormous development that also faces the unique challenges of building in Amsterdam. “This is a very sophisticated undertaking,” comments project manager Peter van Mil, who describes his task as being even greater than the remarkable superyacht projects he has overseen, including the 102-metre Feadship Symphony.
“All the sheet piles and concrete are now in position and we’ve made a start with placing anchors between the sheet piles and anchor sheets. As the piles rose above the ground, digging commenced on the first 3.5 metres of the drydock, after which a pontoon will be lowered into the drydock along with the equipment to go below the water as deep as 10 metres. We’ve also had divers in the water pouring concrete as the basis for the dock floor. I thought that building a Feadship was the most complex thing I’d ever be involved in but the fact that this facility involves so much work underground that one cannot see makes it even more complicated.”
Van Mil has another year at the helm of this project, which will eventually see the banks of the IJ waterway adorned with a 35-metre-high hall plus ten three-story workshops. Feadship is already one of the largest employers within the global superyacht industry, with over 2000 specialists covering every discipline involved in the design, engineering, naval architecture and construction of luxury motoryachts. The new yard means that Feadship will have the opportunity to employ around 150 additional specialised craftsmen, all of whom will benefit from the dedicated educational systems in place which are designed to pass down skills from generation to generation.
“We are uniquely positioned to extend our workface in this way because Feadship has already had its own training colleges for a number of years,” adds director Verkuyl. “This showcases our determination to preserve both traditional crafts and the very latest technological skill sets. Together with the other leading yachtbuilders in the Netherlands, Feadship forms a vital part of the Dutch superyacht cluster, which includes a wide range of leading supply companies and research institutes. The role that Feadship and the Dutch superyacht industry play in supporting innovation within the wider commercial shipping industry cannot be overestimated either. With this new facility we once again confirm our commitment to the future of the Dutch economy.”