The Dutch government has announced it will spend EUR60m ($63.6m) over the next two years to boost the nation’s shipbuilding industry as well as creating a National Maritime Manufacturing Industry Management Agency.
Around 45% of Dutch ships were built on home soil in the 1980s, a figure that has slipped to just 4% today, new government data shows with Asian yards able to churn out ships at prices that are up to 40% cheaper.
“The Netherlands has insufficient competitive construction capacity for naval ships and specialised work vessels,” a recent government study concluded.
“Our maritime manufacturing industry is wrongly regarded as a quiet asset,” said Marja van Bijsterveldt, who is spearheading the government’s focus on the shipbuilding industry. “Together with other countries in Europe, we have lost a large part of our global market share for commercial seagoing vessels to Asia in just a few decades. The Netherlands depends on ships for our safety, dry feet, energy transition, and prosperity. We can no longer afford the laissez-faire policies of recent decades.”
Dutch yards can take part in the coming green transition of the world fleet, the government has argued, citing data from UNCTAD which shows the global merchant fleet is now 22.2 years old, suggesting a significant replacement cycle will be needed by the end of the 2020s.