Royal Boskalis has completed a historically good third quarter. As such, the company is on course for a strong full year result on the back of a good first half of the year. Fleet utilisation was high and there was an increase in revenue and results at all divisions, particularly at the Offshore Energy division.
Several new projects were acquired during the past quarter, including the large Baltica 2 offshore wind cable project and the A2 infra project between Het Vonderen and Kerensheide in Limburg, the Netherlands.
The order book stood at EUR 6 billion as per the end of September, comparable to the mid-2023 level. Underlying, the order book of the two major divisions was also virtually stable.
‘With the high utilization of our fleet and good project results, we are looking back at the best third quarter in our history,’ says Peter Berdowski, CEO. ‘At Dredging, major projects in Asia, the Middle East and our home markets in Europe made a significant contribution. We saw the biggest increase at Offshore Energy. Our strategy focussing on both the traditional energy market and the offshore wind market is paying off. Our vessels at Heavy Marine Transport, Subsea Services, Marine Services and Survey have been extremely busy.’
Berdowski adds: ‘At Salvage, we successfully completed a number of high-profile assignments in recent months, including the FSO Safer in the Red Sea and the Fremantle Highway in the Wadden Sea. All in all, we are on track to conclude one of our best years ever.’
Boskalis’ sustainable growth strategy pursues a balance between activities that add societal value and create sustainable growth. The past quarter saw several impressive projects in progress, a selection of which are highlighted below.
Protection through climate adaptation
In light of the consequences of climate change, the company sees its expertise in the field of climate-adaptive solutions, such as coastal and shoreline protection, becoming increasingly important. Where possible, this includes so-called Nature-Based Solutions, which make use of nature and natural processes to limit the consequences of climate change.
In the Netherlands, for example, Boskalis was involved in several climate adaptation projects last quarter. The multi-year project to reinforce the Markermeer dikes north of Amsterdam is progressing well and the first northern section of the reinforced dike has been completed. Work was also executed at various locations around the country to strengthen a large number of other dikes, and the coastline of North Holland (Bergen) and three Wadden Islands (Texel, Vlieland and Ameland) was also maintained and strengthened.
Recently, the coastal protection project for part of the coastline of Togo and Benin in West Africa was completed. The coastline was reinforced by means of newly constructed and reinforced breakwaters. In addition, a sand engine with a volume of 6.4 million cubic metres was constructed in Benin using a trailing suction hopper dredger. In the coming years, the forces of nature by means of wind and currents will spread this sand naturally along the coastline, making this an effective way to maintain a strong coastline. A follow-up to this successful project is currently under discussion.
In the Maldives, the expansion and climate adaptive measures for the island of Gulhifalhu are in full swing. The development of Gulhifalhu is part of the government’s strategic plan to improve the port infrastructure, relieve the overcrowded capital Malé and make this part of the Maldives resilient to coastal erosion.
Advancing the energy transition
Boskalis is advancing the energy transition by developing infrastructure for renewable energy.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the crane vessel Bokalift 1 installed the last of 62 jackets for the Changfang & Xidao offshore wind farm in Taiwan, where Boskalis was also involved in the construction of the Yunlin wind farm.
In the United States of America (US), Boskalis was active on the Southfork offshore wind project, where the Bokalift 2 crane vessel installed all the monopile foundations and a substation in one quarter. The wind farm will supply 70,000 households with green power. Preparations for the next US wind farm, Revolution, are now underway.
In Scotland, Boskalis is currently working on the construction of part of the Moray West offshore wind farm. For Boskalis, this project involves conducting geophysical surveys, transporting the foundations (monopiles), preparing the seabed and installing the foundations.
Seasonally, the third quarter is traditionally busy for Survey. The past quarter saw a lot of geophysical and geotechnical work in the North Sea and the Middle East.
In terms of decommissioning, it was a busy third quarter. Subsea Services took on a sizable contract earlier this year to decommission old subsea infrastructure in the North Sea resulting in a busy quarter with the deployment of Diving Support Vessels.
In the Caribbean, the Bokalift 1 was involved in salvaging part of a platform from the seabed following an incident.
Salvage successfully completed the salvage of the decaying oil tanker FSO Safer off the coast of Yemen, by transferring all 1.1 million barrels of oil to a replacement oil tanker, averting the risk of a massive environmental disaster with serious humanitarian, environmental and economic consequences.
Salvage was also involved in the salvage of the burning car carrier Fremantle Highway in the Wadden Sea during the third quarter. Boskalis, together with its partner, managed to stabilise the vessel and extinguish the fire, thereby averting a major shipping disaster.
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Early this year, the transformation of the crane vessel Bokalift 2 was completed. Under Boskalis’ own management and direction, this vessel was converted in four years from a drilling vessel to a modern crane vessel that is extremely suitable for the offshore wind market. As the final part of this transformation, an advanced Motion Compensated Pile Gripper Frame was installed in Schiedam, the Netherlands, early this year.
Boskalis recently ordered a new state-of-the-art jumbo trailing suction hopper dredger from Royal IHC in the Netherlands. This decision was preceded by an extensive design phase with very active input from Boskalis. It will be the first trailing suction hopper dredger in the industry to be equipped with Azipods, which allows for an energy efficient vessel design. The vessel will also be prepared for the use of (green) methanol as an alternative fuel. With its many technological innovations, the vessel will be highly efficient and will make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
Given the results for the first nine months of the year and the projects in progress, 2023 is expected to be one of the best years in Boskalis’ history financially with an EBITDA of more than EUR 800 million. This will significantly exceed last year’s result. Based on market developments and the well-filled order book, Boskalis is also positive about the period thereafter.
Boskalis’ financial position remains strong with a positive net cash position and the company is, on balance, debt-free. Guided by the opportunities currently presented by the market, Boskalis will continue to invest in sustainable growth in line with its strategic agenda.
Picture (top): Artist impression of the new trailing suction hopper dredger that Boskalis has ordered from Royal IHC.