History

Over the past century Boskalis has grown from a local Sliedrecht-based dredging company into a global market leader in the field of dredging and inland infra, offshore energy, and towage and salvage.

We now deliver innovative one-stop solutions to major maritime challenges. We have documented the way there in a book, and in a video clip in honour of our 100th anniversary.

Video: 100 years of Boskalis

Historic book Verdiept Verleden

We have published a book about the history of Boskalis, in cooperation with the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands.

This book, titled 'Verdiept Verleden' is available in bookshops (ISBN 9789085069492).

 

 

 

 

Development over the years

Select period:

2010-present

Since 2011 Boskalisoffers Terminal Services with the new Smit Lamnalco combination (50% share).

The acquisition in 2011 of civil constructor MNO Vervat complements the group's infra and earthmoving activities in the dry infra segment.

In March 2013 the acquisition of Dockwise, specialist in heavy marine transport was completed.

2000-2010

In late 2003 Boskalis reinforced its position in the soil improvement market by forming an alliance with Cofra, global leader in vertical drainage and foundation engineering. Boskalis obtained full ownership of the new joint venture.

In 2006 Boskalis acquired the dredging business of Wasa of Finland and Blankevoort of the Netherlands.

At the beginning of 2010 Boskalis merged with Dutch maritime services provider SMIT Internationale.

Today Boskalis owns one of the biggest and most modern fleets in the world, consisting of more than 1,100 units including the company’s share in partnerships.
2010 marks 100 years of Boskalis history. To celebrate this centenary Boskalis has published ‘Verdiept Verleden’ (in Dutch), a book researched and written by the Research Institute for History and Culture of the Humanities faculty of Utrecht University. (ISBN 978 90 8506 949 2).

'Seaway' and 'Prins der Nederlanden', Maasvlakte 2, The Netherlands

1990-2000

More acquisitions followed in the 1990s: Heinrich Hirdes in Germany, Baggermij Holland in the Netherlands, Terramare and Juslenius in Finland, Dragapor in Portugal, and Skanska’s dredging activities in Sweden. Boskalis also acquired the Mexican state-owned dredging fleet and the dredging equipment of PVW International Dredging and Harbour Works in the United Kingdom. It also acquired a 40% interest in Archirodon Group.

During this period Boskalis was also involved in several major land reclamation projects. In Hong Kong the company worked on the major land reclamation project for the new Chek Lap Kok airport and in Singapore it cooperated on a multi-year development program. 

Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong, 1993

1980-1990

In the 1980s economic and political circumstances forced Boskalis to concentrate on its core dredging business, with the company subsequently developing into a versatile and widely recognized player on the global dredging market. Steps to reinforce the company’s position included the acquisition of the well-established Dutch dredging companies Breejenbout (in 1985) and Zanen Verstoep (in 1988).

Singapore, 1985

1970-1980

Boskalis became a public company in the early 1970s and received the designation ‘Royal’ in 1978.

During this period a challenge also presented itself in the Canadian section of the North Pole. Given that conventional oil platforms were unable to withstand the enormous forces of the polar ice, Boskalis was commissioned to brave the freezing conditions to create an island for oil production. This first island in the Beaufort Sea marked the start of a decade which saw Boskalis realize a large number of artificial islands.


Boulogne, 1971
Port of Jubail, 1976

1930-1970

During the 1930s the small dredging company enjoyed steady growth, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Boskalis saw opportunities in the United Kingdom in particular. In 1931 the company won a contract for the dredging of Bromborough Docks, at the time one of the biggest private ports in the world.

Boskalis’ establishment of the Westminster Dredging Company in London in 1933 led to its involvement in major land reclamation projects in West Africa.

In 1948 Boskalis took the first diesel electric bucket dredger into service.

During the 1950s Boskalis and Westminster Dredging Company collaborated on projects all over the world, including Australia, Canada and the Middle East.

In the wake of the 1953 flood disaster in the Netherlands construction started on the major Delta Works project. The storm surge barrier in the Easter Scheldt in particular was a project on a vast scale. Boskalis played a major part in the project by developing complex coastal defense techniques. Global demand for such techniques continued to grow steadily.

In 1953 Boskalis took the trailer suction hopper dredger James 47 into service, making it the first in Europe to introduce this type of dredging.

Tea break, 1931
Dyke construction Den Helder, The Netherlands, summer of '51

1914-1930

After the First World War work started on the Zuider Zee project, a historic milestone in the Dutch struggle against the sea. Boskalis was one of several dredging companies to be tested to their limits in executing this work.

Port construction Delfzijl, The Netherlands, 1925

1910

The origins of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. lie in the 19th century. The first chapter of the company's history really began in the early 20th century in Sliedrecht, the birthplace of the Dutch dredging industry. It was here that a group of families set up a new dredging business in 1910. The official establishment of Boskalis was a fact.
Right from the start Boskalis had a large fleet: three bucket dredgers, a suction dredger, a jacob’s ladder, two bottom dischargers, two house boats and 10 barges.

Bucket wheel dredger
Office, around 1910