International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

Earlier in the year Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announced that it intended to execute a fleet rationalization study. The study was initiated in light of the deteriorating market conditions and an expected prolonged period of low energy and commodity prices. 

The study has now been completed and based on the results the company has decided to take 24 vessels out of service in the course of the coming two years. In terms of employment this will result in the loss of approximately 650 jobs worldwide during this period. Boskalis employees more than 8200 people worldwide not including employees at associated companies. 

In terms of composition a cross-section of nationalities will be affected including some 150 Dutch staff on Dutch payroll. According to Peter Berdowski chief executive officer of Boskalis “While the company will try to absorb the work force reduction through attrition and redeployment wherever possible compulsory redundancies unfortunately look to be unavoidable. A reduction of the number of vessels and jobs is how-ever necessary to ensure that Boskalis remains healthy going forward.” Boskalis has requested the formal opinion of the Dutch Works Council and will invite the trade unions to consult on a social plan in the short term.

Boskalis operates some 1000 vessels and floating equipment glob-ally. Of the 24 vessels being decommissioned in the period from 2016 to 2018 ten will be from the Dredging division and 14 at the Offshore Energy division. These will include trailing suction hopper dredges cutter suction dredges anchor handling tugs and heavy transport vessels. The fleet rationalization will be implemented through the scrapping sale and lay-up of vessels. The average age of the vessels earmarked for scrapping or sale is in excess of thirty years. Vessels offered for scrapping will be dismantled at certified shipyards in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention and Boskalis’ own standards.