With an eye on maximising local industry content and ensuring long term Australian jobs, the aim of Damen's visit was to strengthen business relationships borne out of the Damen Industry Briefings held earlier this year.
The visiting team comprises Damen chief executive René Berkvens, area director Asia-Pacific Roland Briene as well as director of procurement Jacob Biemond. They delegates have been joined by a number of Dutch companies and their Australian partners as they look to build their relationships and enable the highest levels of Australian content for the new OPVs. The team will meet with business representatives from all around the country this week.
Among the companies and organisations with which Damen has laid the groundwork for collaborative partnerships with the ASC Forgacs Shipbuilding joint venture are companies from Western Australia's Henderson Alliance, members of the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN), Defence Teaming Centre and other small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The delegation is joined by some of Damen’s major suppliers who are looking to establish partnerships with Australian companies for the SEA 1180 Program.
"These suppliers are part of Damen’s global supply chain. The opportunity for Australian companies to join this network is a very promising and realistic one," said Biemond.
"The SEA 1180 Program has the potential to establish the framework for long-term naval and commercial shipbuilding capacity in Australia. An enthusiastic and effective supply chain is the best way ahead to reduce the risks involved – in terms of both construction schedule and technical coverage."
This Damen delegation follows the industry briefings that the company conducted with local suppliers in February and March in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. The briefings were attended by approximately 800 people.
"We have received so much positive feedback about the industry briefings that we held earlier this year," said Berkvens.
"We wanted this delegation to pick up where the briefings left off – turning the business connections that we made back in the Australian summer into fully fledged professional relationships. To this end, nothing substitutes meeting people face-to-face.
"The SEA 1180 Program will require strong partnerships – and this is what Damen offers. For us, this delegation has been the next logical step in the process of ensuring that we cut the first steel and commence construction with the maximum possible Australian content."
The company is confident its focus on standardisation, along with its Axe-bow design, are crucial to its OPV bid.
The OPV project is valued at $3 billion. 12 vessels will be built with construction due to start in 2018. Fassmer and Lürssen are also tendering for the project.