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Specialty ship builder IHC Holland leases additional shipyard

Firm flourishes in niche markets

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SLIEDRECHT - The IHC Holland Merwede shipbuilding firm is doing so well that it had to find another wharf, following the reopening of Van der Giessen-De Noord in Krimpen. IHC now has reached an agreement with the financially troubled Alblas Scheepsbouw in Hendrik Ido Ambacht to lease its site and take on its workers as well.

The Alblas shipyard’s workers will join Kinderdijk-based IHC Holland Dredgers but will continue to report to the Hendrik Ido Ambacht site.

IHC Alblas will be used to build ship sections for other IHC yards. But eventually, the slipway (measuring 90 by over 25 metres) on the Noord may also be put back into operation.

A ship’s mid-section is currently being built at IHC Alblas for the De Volharding yard. IHC will complete this order, which will take six months at the most. The yard also has a cutting hall, a pre-treatment hall, a section hall and adjacent offices. IHC also leases the 110-metres long fitting-out quay.

In the past, Alblas concentrated on building inland barges and dedicated work ships, with a maximum length of about 100 metres, on the quay. In more recent years, it only built sections in the halls.

For IHC, the takeover of Alblas is a welcome expansion of its shipbuilding capacity in the Netherlands. IHC Alblas does not rule out the possibility that it over time will build whole ships as well on the wharf.

The IHC group also has four covered slipways for building new ships in Kinderdijk, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Krimpen aan den IJssel and Sliedrecht.

IHC Holland Merwede now employs more than 1600 people, spread out over the four shipyards and another two locations in Delfgauw and Goes. The company also employs people in Asia and the Middle East.

The Dutch have been ship builders for centuries but in recent decades shipping companies were attracted by lower-priced offers from particularly Asia. IHC specializes in high-tech vessels used in dredging, towing and salvaging as well as off-shore applications for the energy sector.