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Insight: Talking Holland with Wim van der Valk

Business

Dutch shipyard Wim van der Valk are amongst the many shipyards in the Netherlands whose name has become synonymous with the famous Dutch-built quality vessels that Holland is constantly and consistently applauded for. SuperYacht Times caught up with Wim van der Valk’s Yoeri Bijker last summer, who talked of the camaraderie involved in the Dutch superyacht industry, as well as what sets them apart from their competitors.

Established in 1968, Wim van der Valk has experienced great success over the past half a century, and business in 2015 was no different. Bijker reports that the shipyard has been in full production over the last few years and has been completely fully booked from the summers of 2013 to 2015.

Enabling Wim van der Valk to deliver a range of yachts so constantly is partly due to their relatively short build time as well as cheaper price range in comparison to similar European built yachts, meaning that there is often no shortage of interest. In terms of build time, a 20-23 metres yacht can be complete in 11-12 months, a 25-26 metres yacht for 14 months, and a 30+ metres yacht in approximately 18 months. The largest size currently possible to be built at their facilities is around 42 metres, but as Bijker explains, there are plans for expansion. He says, “There are already plans to expand the shipyard in the future, including a new construction hall which allows triple decks constructions.”

When asked about the competitors that the brand set themselves - and their prices - apart from, Bijker explains that though in practice any luxury shipyard operating in the 20 to 40 metre aluminium and steel segment could be classed as a competitor, there are actually few who can successfully compete with the prices they offer. He says, “In principle, they can all be seen as some kind of competitor, but the main ones are situated in The Netherlands and in Italy. Over the years we have established ourselves as a custom-built shipyard, known for outstanding quality for very competitive prices. We provide richly equipped custom yachts at prices of conventional production motor yachts. There are only few custom yacht builders that can compete with our prices.”

He continues to explain the brand’s relationship in particular to fellow Dutch shipyards, telling SYT that although there are certainly perceived competitors from the same country and their prices, Wim van der Valk don’t see them quite as competitors, more as players in the same team. He says, “In the Netherlands there are only a select few very proper and beautiful custom shipyards (aluminium/steel), like Mulder Shipyard and Moonen Shipyard that operate in the same, or a similar market segment. Personally, we don’t really see these parties as direct competitors, because each of these parties has their own approach and distinctiveness, both in looks, design, feeling and mentality. Moreover we think the corporate branding of all the Dutch custom shipyards is very important and has a very positive effect on all of the Dutch yards. Together we make each other stronger.”

Wim van der Valk recently revealed their Continental Five range, as well as made the announcement that the Continental Two is currently under construction at their facilities in Waalwijk, and is due for delivery in Spring 2017.

The full interview with Yoeri Bijker is featured in the third issue of the SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscriptions are available here.

By Gemma Fottles

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