At the Europort 2017 exhibition in Rotterdam, Damen Shipyards Group and Belgian ferry operator Aqualiner signed a contract for the delivery of three more Damen Waterbus 2407 vessels, for operations on the Scheldt in Antwerp. At the signing were Gerbrand Schutten (CEO Aqualiner), Maurice Swets (CEO Aqualiner), Dimitri Romijn (CFO Aqualiner), Arnout Damen (CCO Damen) and Jelle Meindertsma (Sales Manager Damen). The Waterbus 2407 is a new composite design from Damen, first unveiled just over a year ago. Lightweight, low maintenance and fuel efficient, it can carry up to 100 passengers at speeds up to 21 knots.
Aqualiner is contracted by the Port of Antwerp to provide water-based public transport services in the Belgian city of Antwerp, and this investment is part of a wider transportation program to improve the city’s infrastructure and reduce pressure on its roads. Aqualiner took delivery of its first Waterbus 2407 from Damen at the end of June this year following a tender process that culminated in the two organisations signing an agreement covering a total of four vessels. One of the factors in Damen’s favour was its policy of building for stock, enabling it to deliver an initial vessel almost immediately.
Christened the Aqua Diamond, the ferry is currently operating a service that connects the centre of Antwerp with the southern part of the city. It has been its success that has led to Aqualiner formally confirming the order yesterday. The three additional vessels will enable Aqualiner to expand that service to the north. When all four waterbuses are in operation, both services will be able to offer departures every half hour.
The Aqua Diamond was built at Damen Shipyards Antalya, as will the three new additions. The Antalya yard specialises in composite vessels and builds a wide range of fast boats using the latest vacuum infusion techniques. All three ferries are scheduled for delivery next year, with the possibility of further orders coming thereafter.