Tor 29 feb / År 42 / Nr 5 2023

Damen Shiprepair Götaverken – Long-term partner for ship owners worldwide

Located in Gothenburg, Scandinavia’s largest port, Damen Shiprepair Götaverken is one of the most straightforward ship repair and conversion yards in Northern Europe. Dutch project management meets almost two centuries of Swedish maritime expertise. Formerly known as Götaverken Cityvarvet, the shipyard is now part of Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group. This clearly illustrates the marriage of traditional Dutch and Swedish maritime expertise.

Six months ago, Ms. Monica Svenner started as Managing Director of Damen Shiprepair Götaverken (DSGö). Being the first female MD within the ship repair industry, she accepted with excitement and enthusiasm. Her main driving forces are improving businesses, developing and managing organisations and helping people to move forward. With her wide industrial experience in senior management positions for Atlas Copco, Mölnlycke Health Care and Wicanders and having been MD for Stena Recycling and for Driconeq Holding, her goal is to have DSGö grow into to a flourishing yard focusing on repairs and scheduled dockings for long-term clients; a place where international ship owners gladly want to berth their vessels, knowing that the agreed time-schedule will be met within budget.

Other important goals for Monica and her staff are maintaining a high level of safety, implementing the new emission-reduction requirements that come into force in 2015 and, of course, keeping the two docks, the four berths and the state-of-the-art workshops fully occupied.

Finding economical solutions
International environmental regulations for the shipping industry are being tightened and demand a reduction of the emissions of sulphur and nitrous oxides. In order to fulfil these demands, many of which come from IMO (the UN’s International Maritime Organization), shipping companies are pushed to upgrade their fleets with emission reducing systems.

Damen Shiprepair Götaverken is now challenged to keep installation costs as low as possible for its customers. ”There are several ways of fulfilling the new demands”, says Monica. “Vessels don’t really need to be dry docked in order to install new systems, although many shipping lines choose to combine the installation with the statutory dry docking. Since we have over one kilometre of quay, we can manage the installation of catalysers or exhaust scrubber systems at any suitable time for our customers.”

Other methods involve more serious investments, for example converting a vessel to run on alternative fuels. To that effect, parent company Damen is currently researching, experimenting with and actively building air lubricated ships, LNG-powered vessels and hybrid tugs.

“Whatever the solution chosen by individual ship owners, we realize that it involves costs that they did not face a few years ago”, says Monica. “However, this also offers the opportunity to work together more efficiently with our customers, not only in doing our regular maintenance and repair work, but also in finding the most economical solutions for their needs. With our highly skilled workforce and extensive experience we are ready for effective action. Our staff makes every effort to do a good job and, over time, turn a first-time customer into a long-term partner”.

New strategy in place
According to Götaverken’s MD it requires modern leadership, employee competence development and an efficient organisation to develop a company in such a way that it walks the same road as does the market it services. Monica: “Our latest strategy revision includes a clearer focus on efficiency through lean operations, keeping the workplace clean and tidy and prioritising efficient practice in our complete scope of work. This will result in better and more cost-efficient services for our clients; as I see it, this is a goal to strive for permanently.”

More than ship repair
In addition to ship repair and maintenance the yard is known for its steelworks. With an impressive and dedicated workshop at the yard, DSGö provides quality steel services including design and steel fabrication to onshore industrial partners. All types of structural and ornamental steel works can be created, such as (constructions for) buildings, platforms, ladders and handrails, tanks, nozzles and manholes.

From Götaverken Cityvarvet to Damen Shiprepair Götaverken
The shipyard is one of the oldest registered companies in Gothenburg. The roots trace back to 1841 when Gothenburg Mechanical Engineering was founded. Ms. Svenner describes the success as swift and strong. Gothenburg Mechanical Engineering gained worldwide recognition for its well-established engineering expertise. The company developed into a shipyard, Götaverken Cityvarvet, which in its peak became one of the world’s primary ship builders.

As the market changed, so did Götaverken. The restart in 1993 marked the company’s intentions as a reliable, long-term partner for ship owners all over the world. The restart was carried out with approximately 70 employees. A lot has happened since then, noticeably joining forces with Damen, a Dutch family-owned shipbuilding group looking to strengthen its European stronghold in the maritime industry, in the year 2000. “Twelve years later the official name-change marks another milestone in our history”, Monica Svenner concludes.

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