GDD shipyard alliance has extensive experience with complex large-scale projects
Large-scale projects are naturally rare, but they are an impressive example of the ability of companies such as the German Dry Docks Group. In their complexity, they show the entire spectrum of skills of the ship alliance.
For Detlef Nünke, the “Juvel” will not be forgotten so quickly. “When the Norwegian trawler arrived in Bremerhaven „only” an extension from 28 to 99 meters was planned,” the head of the German Dry Docks (GDD) project department recalls – putting “only” in clear quotes. For the cutting, extending and reassembling of a ship alone is a masterpiece of engineering and craftsmanship. But within 219 days the conversion of the “Juvel” grew far beyond that: “In the end, we built a complete swimming krill factory”, Nünke reports. The fact that he is thinking of this spectacular order now has its reason: With the world’s first conversion of a container ship to LNG operation, GDD has another large-scale project coming up.
Leading repair and conversion specialist
For the experts of the German Dry Docks Group, large projects are not rocket science: “They are actually a bit of an everyday occurrence for us,” says Dirk Harms. “After all, we put all our abilities and strengths into practice with each order, regardless of size”, says the Managing Director of the Bremerhaven dock company Bredo GmbH. Together with German Dry Docks AG in the Kaiserhafen, Bredo GmbH, based in the fishing port, forms the core of the shipyard alliance which has established itself as a leading repair and conversion specialist far beyond the Bremerhaven location.
Over the past 15 years, the two core companies of the GDD Group have already successfully completed dozens of major projects. The conversion of a working platform for the offshore industry into a self-propelled jack-up vessel and the extension and modernization of RoRo ferries and freight ships are just as much a part of the portfolio as the complex reconstruction and refurbishment of passenger and cruise ships. Quite obviously the Bremerhaveners have always delivered faultless work: “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to subsequently welcome so many customers as regular customers,” says Dirk Harms.
A sign of confidence by regular customers
Among the best-known shipping companies that regularly send their ships to Bremerhaven, is the Norwegian Hurtigruten. The Scandinavians take the long route from the north of Europe to the Weser not only for larger projects, but also for the regular docking of their postal and cruise ships. Harms highly appreciates this sign of confidence: “Our customers fully rely on getting their ships back right on schedule.”
Experts from all trades work hand in hand
Large projects are not always associated with spectacular pictures, for example the insertion of whole sections. “It is rather the complexity of the work, which is characteristic,” emphasizes Detlef Nünke. For him, the best example is the installation of so-called scrubbers. These exhaust gas purification systems are increasingly in demand since strict emission values have been applied in certain areas such as the Baltic Sea. Although the shipping company usually decides which scrubber is installed by which manufacturer, it relies on the know-how and the skill of the shipyard alliance. “We don’t simply install a catalytic converter like in a car,” Nünke explains: „”It is much more about integrating a new complex technical system into an existing and also complex system – and all of this in a confined space.” In projects such as this, the GDD Group can show its full potential: “Here, all skills are required – from project planning to steel and mechanical engineering to engine specialists,” emphasizes Nünke.
The fact that companies with such a highly specialized and also wide range of services are called repair yard is therefore sometimes irritating. “This sounds a bit like we’re just fixing something that’s been broken before,” says Dirk Harms. Ultimately, however, it is not so important to him under which name the companies of the shipyard alliance are shown in official statistics and reports: “What matters to us is what the customers think of us. And everyone in the shipyard alliance is doing their best,” Nünke and Harms emphasize.