At the annual Offshore Support Journal Conference gala dinner held on 18 February, 2015, Mr. Kommer Damen, Chairman of Damen Shipyards Group, received the award for Industry Leader of the year, as selected by OSJ’s editorial team and the conference advisory panel.
The award was made based on “his vision, which has been at the heart of the phenomenal growth that Damen Shipyards has seen in recent years. The company now operates 32 shipyards worldwide and has an annual turnover of 2 billion”. Founded in 1927, the group has built over 5,000 vessels since 1969 (when Kommer Damen took over the yard from his father and uncle). Today Damen delivers in excess of 160 ships a year.
That growth was attributed to the group’s achievement in consistently developing new designs that meet the customers’ needs and building them in large volumes. Mr Damen has been responsible for the focus on modular building and standardisation, and for the global drive that has seen the takeover of numerous yards specialising in niche markets. He has also played a central role in forming partnerships and cooperating with yards all over the world, a process that the group continues to pursue today. The judges also noted that, despite expanding into a multinational company, Damen Shipyards Group has never lost its family values or its respect for its maritime heritage.
“Offshore vessels are a huge market and we are investing in more platforms for standardising and building ships,” Mr Damen said when receiving the award. This means that the company can build similar types of ships in series at different yards worldwide. “This means cost efficiencies, better vessels, and lower maintenance and design costs.”
In recent years Damen has introduced a whole series of new standardised designs for vessels serving the offshore sector, including tugs and numerous offshore support vessels including platform supply and fast crew supply vessels, many with Damen’s innovative Sea Axe bow design.
As well as his commitment to Damen Shipyards Group, Mr Damen also has a number of other roles in industry in the Netherlands. He is a board member at the Dutch Shipbuilding Association; a board member of Dutch Maritime Network (NML); a member of the supervisory board at Platform Bèta Techniek; and an Honorary Consul of the Federal States of Mexico.