Van Dam Shipping: The flying Dutchman

Van Dam Shipping: The flying Dutchman

Van Dam Shipping has signed a contract for the installation of an eConowind supplied wind assisted propulsion system on its 3,600 dwt general cargo vessel Ankie. The Spijk, Netherlands-based company will take delivery of the Ventifoil system in the final quarter of this year.

For eConowind, located in Groningen, Netherlands, it is the first commercial order of its Ventifoil system which successfully completed sea test trials earlier this year. The wind-assist system was developed over the past three years supported by an EU-backed grant.

“We are seeking ‘econology’ for shipping: good for ecology but must be economical as well. After several years of development and testing we are very happy to take this next big step: a first commercial installation to show that saving energy and emissions can mean saving money at the same time. We are confident that such an innovative company as Van Dam Shipping will manage to get the most out of the system and we are really excited to share the results in the coming months.” Says Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind.

The modular Ventifoil units are in the form of a non-rotating wing with vents and an internal fan that uses boundary layer suction for maximum effect. This installation will feature two, 10 m wings along with two extensions of 6 m that will generate significant force allowing the vessel to reduce motor power and thus save energy.

“We expect the reduction in fuel costs over a period of approximately three years will equal the costs of the system and thus fulfil our dream of using the wind again in modern shipping, which has been 40 years in the making,” says Jan van Dam, owner of Van Dam Shipping

Van Dam Shipping will participate in further testing the concept in the new EU-backed Wind-Assist Ship Propulsion (WASP) research program, which from October will study practical use of wind-assisted systems in day-to-day operations as well as actual savings over an extended period of time.

Van Dam Shipping is a family-run business with eight vessels in its fleet, six of which are focused on the Finnish trades.

The company’s owner, Jan van Dam, discusses with Maritime CEO the difficulties of being a small owner with innovative ideas.

“We have a fully new concept ship ready but it is very difficult to get it built. The market is tough and to find finance for newbuildings without bigger parties is very difficult,” van Dam says.

“For us, it is not important to be first. It’s more important for us to go ahead with new designs of ships and put all the technology into them so we can reach together a new target and show the world that shipping is not dirty but cleaner per ton/mile.”

As well as owning, the group has a number of other services including crew support and shipmanagement.

The Dutch outfit is truly a hands on family-run business, with van Dam currently sailing on one of his ships in Africa (pictured), and his three sons are also working onboard his ships while his daughter is involved on the crewing side of the business and his wife is heavily involved on the administration side of the business.

This article first appeared in Maritime CEO magazine. Splash readers can access the full magazine for free online by clicking here.

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