Meyer's Neptun Werft Enters Offshore Business to Build Converter Platforms

Neptun Werft shipyard
Neptun Werft is starting businesses for offshore construction after the interruption in cruise ship orders (file photo)

Published Nov 17, 2023 12:21 PM by The Maritime Executive


Germany’s Meyer Group is continuing its efforts to diversify its shipbuilding operations into new sectors after the downturn in cruise ship construction. Following the model of other shipyards, especially in Asia which have business in offshore energy, the company’s Neptun Werft yard located in Rostock in eastern Germany, is launching a new business partnership targeting the offshore energy sector.

Neptun Werft is working with a Belgian company, Smulders, a subsidiary of Eiffage, which was a pioneer in the offshore wind energy sector more than 20 years ago. Smulders provides design, manufacturing, delivery, and assembly of steel structures having developed a business in transformer platforms. Smulders operates from six locations including Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, and Poland.

Smulders and Neptun Werft are launching two companies, Neptun Smulders Offshore Renewables and Neptun Smulders Engineering that will provide design and manufacturing for offshore converter platforms. In the future, Meyer reports that it wants to also expand the business targeting other elements such as the efforts to convert excess energy from wind farms into hydrogen or other e-fuels. They note they can also build the tankers and other elements used to support the emerging applications for offshore renewable energy. Initially, they expect to create 100 jobs.

The companies note there is a strong need in the German offshore energy sector. To reach the ambitious goals of the German government for offshore, renewable energy, they highlight the need to expand capacity and develop new technologies. They report that the industry will require 2 GW capacity and high voltage direct current transmission technology.


Neptun Werft looks to use its construction capacity for the offshore energy sector starting with converter platforms (Neptun Werf)


"We are combining the Meyer Group's expertise in large-scale complex shipbuilding with Smulders' offshore experience,” says Jan Meyer, Chief Business Innovation Officer for the group who is responsible for new business development centering around Neptun Werft shipyard including the new offshore wind business. “Together, we are creating the necessary strategic production capacities to be able to manufacture the converter platforms required for the energy transition in Germany. We will be a concrete example of how the green transition creates jobs in Germany.” 

The Meyer Group is looking at how best to apply its capabilities to new segments after the pandemic interrupted orders for new cruise ships, which was the primary business for the company’s yards in Rostock and Papenburg, Germany, and in Turku, Finland. Meyer maintained its orders from the cruise lines and added one new order from NYK, while it has also explored new lines of business.

The Neptun yard traces its origins to 1850 and after being a construction facility in the former East Germany, transitioned to being a repair yard after the reunification of Germany. Meyer Werft acquired the yard in 1997 and it developed a specialty building river cruise ships as well as the engine room modules for the large, ocean cruise ships being built in Papenburg and Turku.

Neptun has been reaching out with new work while continuing its efforts with river cruise ships and the modules. They are involved in a partnership with the NVL Group to build two new supply ships for the German Navy and with Fassmer for the construction of a new German research vessel. At the beginning of 2023, Neptun Werft also reported that it had a contract from Viking to build a river cruise ship that will feature hybrid propulsion with batteries and a photovoltaic system on the upper deck to increase energy efficiency. The river cruise ship is due for delivery in 2025 and will operate on France’s Seine.