Dutch builder working on electric and hydrogen-powered yachts

In his keynote presentation and a subsequent Q&A session at METSTRADE 2019, Feadship director Henk de Vries highlighted the Dutch yard’s plans to go green and possibly be emissions free by 2025.

De Vries is a director of Feadship and the CEO of Koninkijke De Vries Scheepbouw, one of the member companies of Feadship. He is also cairman of the Water Revolution Foundation which was formed just one year ago. De Vries the company was formed in 1906 and it remains a family concern with the 5th generation being active in the business.

“The plan is to try and make Feadship emission-free by 2025 but that may be a bit of a challenge so it may be 2030,” commented De Vries. He explained that the group was project-led and that currently Feadship has 15 or 16 contracts which extend the order book through to 2022. Feadhsip at its four shipyards has 10 build sheds but they are never all filled because De Vries suggested that around five or six projects are in build at any one time.

“We are working on an electric project and a project using hydrogen propulsion,” he added. “We are the number one brand for superyachts.” Having been formed in 1949, Feadship is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

De Vries mused that clients were more knowledgeable than the builders and that Feadship was among the most expensive superyacht construction companies. He indicated that the success of the company had involved many family arguments and a specialist in Switzerland could help work through any issues.

He reported that many owners had little or no interest in having superyachts that were green or environmentally friendly. He spoke of efforts to try and pursue them to be so and that this is an ongoing challenge. De Vries pointed to the fact that with Feadship having constructed such projects as the Savannah and other projects since, this gives the group a very strong knowledge base which can be used to advise owners.

“With this knowledge we can provide owners with much more insight into modern systems than consultants and captains,” De Vries suggested. With the projects they have built and those they are building, they have much experience to pass on to owners in terms of what they want. “Owners do not know what they want,” De Vries said, “but we can help decide on things such as hybrid propulsion or other systems plus the changing regulations such as Tier 111.”

Contributing to Feadship building its green credentials, the group has a seven-strong sustainability team comprising employees aged between 35 and 55. This group has an agenda of 90 themes to address related to the eco situation of the shipyards.

All this feeds into the Water Revolution Foundation (WRF), of which De Vries is chairman. The association is just celebrating its first birthday and its most recent happening, this week, is the holding of its first management course. This was entitled ‘Sustainability in Practice’ and the course is tailored to the superyacht industry and took place on November 19 at METSTRADE. This is the first course of Water Revolution’s educational programme.