Setting the Den Breejen quality standard

Family-run Den Breejen Shipyard has built a mighty reputation in the river cruise sector. Jon Ingleton met with Ilona Kamsteeg-Den Breejen to find out why

Setting the Den Breejen quality standard

This article was first published in Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Den Breejen Shipyard continues to win building and repair contracts in many shipping sectors, and has become a respected specialist in the river cruise business. Its location in Netherlands municipality Hardinxveld-Giessendam, which is close to Europe’s inland waterways, makes it particularly well-suited for river cruise ship projects. However, the yard’s success is based on much more than a convenient location. Its unparalleled commitment to quality across every department plays a pivotal role.

“Quality of materials and workmanship, combined with a commitment to achieving total customer satisfaction are among our core values,” says Ilona Kamsteeg-Den Breejen, managing director of Den Breejen Shipyard.

These standards are achieved by a skilled and resourceful staff, many of whom have spent their entire career within the business. While joining the Den Breejen family will provide a rewarding career, the door is only accessible to skilled craftspeople. “Everyone has to be able to demonstrate a capability to meet our exacting standards, including subcontractors,” comments Kamsteeg. “Our safety, health, environment and quality coordinator is responsible for these processes – anchored in the ISO 9001 certification – and maintaining the quality of our output.”

Sustainability issues have entered the conversation in the river cruise market, perhaps a little later than elsewhere in passenger shipping. However, Den Breejen Shipyard is making good progress. “We strive to optimise working practices to reduce the environmental impact of our activities as much as possible,” Kamsteeg says. “We design and build strictly according to class requirements and we apply environmentally friendly solutions wherever we can.”

The yard is also making good progress in researching alternative power and propulsion solutions, notes Kamsteeg. “Emissions are an issue for inland waterways and we are working diligently with our suppliers to find the perfect balance between performance and environmental sustainability.”

Den Breejen Shipyard started 2018 with three ship construction projects. The first, VistaStar for a German investment fund, will be delivered in June. The second is the next in the successful series of Suite-Ships for Avalon Waterways, to be delivered in January 2019. The third is a new design for Dunav Tours, which will be delivered a few months later. According to Kamsteeg, the special relationship the yard develops with its customers is the reason for its impressive newbuild portfolio.

“We develop, design and build ships in close cooperation with our customers,” she explains. “Each shipping company has its own characteristics and wants us to translate these into the appearance and comfort-class of their ships. Together we select and implement the design and technical innovations that are appropriate to each newbuild. Our inherent efficiencies and lean management structure means decisions can be made quickly, allowing us to be flexible and agile with mid-build requests.”

Den Breejen Shipyard has already proven its shipbuilding pedigree and is now a force in the design and construction of river cruise ships. As river cruising continues to thrive, so the Den Breejen family business will continue to flourish. “Our priorities are to develop and expand our facilities and continue serving the river cruise market,” concludes Kamsteeg.

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Jon Ingleton
By Jon Ingleton
Thursday, August 16, 2018