Dutch shipping

The Dutch fleet


Ships are perhaps one of the most appealing forms of transport; nothing sparks the imagination like a large and beautifully painted vessel slicing through the waves. However, the enormous container ships that people often have in mind are actually not that much represented in Dutch shipping.

Instead, the Dutch fleet is extremely diverse and, in some sectors, Dutch companies are even world leaders. The refrigerated and frozen goods sector is just one example, and it is because of this that supermarket customers have access to exotic fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.

2003 - MF Shipping Group - Thun Genius - 2

Key figures

In 2016, the Dutch shipping industry consisted of approximately 800 companies. This includes the partnerships that often include the business concerns of so-called captain-owners. The Dutch register is growing: Between 2006 and 2016, the number of Dutch-flagged merchant ships and sea towage vessels increased from 750 to 1,059. Most recent figures, from 31 December 2016, show that the total number of merchant and sea towage vessels under Dutch management was 2,012. Here, the KVNR uses figures for the merchant and sea towage fleet; dredging vessels are included elsewhere.

The majority of Dutch shipowners are also members of the KVNR, which keeps track of how many ships its members own. The KVNR’s own figures show that the average age of registered vessels is just 12.5 years old. Considering the fact that this is about half the lifespan of an average ship, it can be said that the Dutch fleet is very modern.

Types of ships

180607 - Infographic - Nederlandse scheepvaart

In addition to being modern, the Dutch shipping industry has one of the most varied fleets in the world, employs highly trained crews and implements forward-thinking employment conditions. The Dutch fleet is active globally, with a strong presence within Europe, and to neighbouring non-EU ports in Russia and Africa, in addition to the inland shipping branch. In terms of operations, Dutch shipowners are active in many sectors; from heavy cargoes, container transport and towage, to refrigerated and frozen goods, and chemical cargoes.

To get an idea of the different types of ships active in the Dutch fleet, have a look at the ‘Market segments’ in the 'Dutch shipping' menu-item above.

An innovative and modern fleet

Ships are built to sail the seas. But what happens when a ship is no longer suitable for active operations? Actually, Dutch shipping companies rarely have to deal with this issue, as ships are most often resold long before the time comes for decommissioning and recycling. This keeps the Dutch fleet as modern and innovative as possible. Shipowners do aim, however, for the best dismantling conditions of ships worldwide.