Damen Shipyards Group reports its order book at a record level at year-end 2021 while also providing an insight into the effects of the Ukraine crisis on the Dutch shipbuilder.

Damen features regularly in MJ reporting its shipbuilding activity, within this column relating to its extensive tug and workboat range. Its activities are not restricted to these vessels alone however, the report covering its whole catalogue from a company with a workforce of around 12,000 at more than 35 shipyards across five continents.

Damen's record order book included 99 vessels for its workboat division (Damen)

Damen’s record order book included 99 vessels for its workboat division (Damen)

The order book rose to a record €8.8 billion at the end of 2021, partly due to orders for no fewer than 99 vessels at the Workboats Division and a record number for Damen Yachting.

After three loss-making years Damen was back in the black in 2021, returning an operating profit of €25 million compared to a negative operating result of €43 million in 2020, a year hampered by the effects of the Covid pandemic.

Stating that 2021 was “a good year for us”, CEO Arnout Damen lists stand-out vessels delivered ranging from a diamond recovery vessel to electrically powered water buses for Copenhagen; also in the list is Port of Auckland’s all-electric tug Sparky. No doubt the growing list of references for its interesting RSD 2513 (Reversed Stern Drive) tug will also have been met with approval in the board room.

Looking ahead, Damen sees a number of uncertainties. The crisis in Ukraine is having a “major impact on our company” according to Mr Damen, not least the 214 colleagues who were employed at its Cherson and Mykolayiv sites before the invasion, with the tragic loss of one of those colleagues. The company worked to ensure that hundreds of Ukrainian employees and their families were evacuated to safer havens not only at its shipyards in Galati and Gdansk but also in Amsterdam and Vlissingen.

The conflict also had an economic impact. A week after the invasion, delivery of vessels to Russian and Belarusian clients was suspended, the Dutch government’s sanctions against Russia rendering those deliveries impossible.

Mr Damen added: “Despite the consequences of this worrying conflict, we look to the future with optimism and confidence, this is a view shared by our financial partners, who have recently confirmed their confidence with credit facilities for the years ahead.”