Technology and R&D&I are the calling card of private Spanish shipyards. Over the last seven years, the sector has invested more than €428 million in innovation, making it competitive enough to face up to the most demanding challenges.
Spain specialises in advanced ships, with technical requirements which other competing countries are not able to provide. Niche markets such as offshore ships or oceanographic research vessels require a high level of technology. In these markets, the shipyards’ technological capacity wins out over the financial advantages and cheap labour costs offered by other countries.
Small and medium-sized shipyards in Spain are characterised by the fact that they build extremely specialised ships with a high level of technology, and focus on very small-series production. Usually only a single ship is built.
One of the biggest challenges faced by shipyards is precisely the fact that they have to build these genuine ‘prototypes’ over an average period of around two years. The shipyards have achieved a notable level of excellence, proof of which lies in the honours that several of them have achieved, winning prestigious international awards.
An example of this is the offshore construction vessel (OCV), North Sea Giant, built by Metalships & Docks for the Norwegian ship-owner North Sea Shipping, which in 2012 was awarded the Support Vessel of the Year prize by the prestigious publishing house Offshore Support Journal in London.
More recently, during the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference held in London, the platform support vessel (PSV) ‘Edda Ferd’, built at the Gondán Shipyard, won the 2013 prize awarded to the most environmentally-friendly ship in Europe, for its innovative technology in diesel-electric propulsion systems.