January 2024

Forward thinking with Holland

International Trade - Our Regional Focus

To mark our success in International Trade, we produced a series of articles looking at our overseas activities in specific regions. In this article, we hop over to Holland.

The Netherlands is the second largest producer and exporter of natural gas in Europe, after Norway. However, the opportunities we see in this market are focused around its vision to be a key logistics hub by 2050 in a carbon-neutral Europe.

It mirrors the UK in its ambition to transition to a net-zero economy. It is accelerating decarbonisation in a number of vital areas, such as offshore wind, hydrogen and energy storage. The Dutch energy industry offers world-class R&D facilities and outstanding incentive programs that support and stimulate innovation.

MDL aims to bring new, smart and creative solutions to the industry and we know there are like-minded partners right across the North Sea.


Our most recent project in the Dutch North Sea with DEME, where we transpooled a replacement cable for a Belgian windfarm, allowed us to demonstrate the benefits of this geographical proximity – coupled with the responsiveness of One Team MDL.

We were carrying out the operations within 5 days of receiving the enquiry – that’s complete with project planning and mobilising the equipment to client’s site.

The master enabling equipment was our TTS-2/90 Series Tensioner, a top-loading two-track system for SURF, cable and wire rope handling, featuring extended track contact length (3.35m) to ensure optimised handling of smaller OD or delicate products.

MDL forward-thinking design is reflected in the unlimited top track swivel, offering a wide opening to receive or abandon the product. This feature comes to the fore where efficiency of operation is of high importance – particularly relevant on vessels, the big swayers of a project’s budget.

Compact but capable equipment like this allows for the use of smaller back decks or any locally-available tonnage – that way supporting GHG reduction goals from cutting overseas transit and fuel burn.

Further benefits come from the versatility of forward-thinking technology; besides cable deployment, the MDL TTS-2 systems have been used for wire rope handling, SURF scopes and pipeline replacement and decommissioning, converting a variety of vessels to enable these missions, including survey vessels and barges.

Alternative energy

These types of engineering solutions – and our creative thinking – bring cross-sector enablers to alternative energy industries.

Offshore wind energy plays an important role in making Dutch energy supply more sustainable and achieving climate objectives. The 2030 Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap provides a blueprint on how and where new wind farms will be built in the period up to and including 2030.

One important precondition for the growth of offshore wind energy after 2030 is that the electricity generated must be properly integrated into the energy system. This means the required infrastructure – “the grid” supported by safe and reliable cable connections - must be available in good time.

Application of versatile technology like MDL’s, supported by our extensive Project Management & Engineering expertise, opens up opportunities for players looking to lead the energy transition in a sustainable way – i.e. without breaking the bank or cutting corners along the way.

Firstly, as already mentioned, it enables local tonnage – literally putting the Dutch fleet owners in the driving seat of enabling green energy development with optimal tools for the job. The window of opportunity is greater in the coming years as we foresee a shortage of specialist vessels with the parallel increase in traditional and renewable energy projects. MDL can provide these enabling solutions on spot-market basis, packaged to fit each back deck beautifully - or design bespoke systems tailored to the asset and desired pursuits.

Our Dutch track record in this respect runs way back: look to 2012 for the first package of winches delivered for operations in Brazil, that were mobilised on the client’s vessel in Holland – complete with the all-important integration with SCADA and other manufacturers’ equipment. The success of that project was demonstrated in what followed: a repeat order for three other vessels.

This long history means we are very familiar with the country’s shipyards and key players; and so, our design, engineering and manufacturing excellence extends to the quayside facilities and spoolbases, where we can enable smoother, more efficient operations with technology upgrades - from software to a complete spread. Naturally, our involvement is not limited to supply of equipment; our field service team is well experienced in managing these operations and providing certified training to the facility’s personnel.

The Dutch have been enabling the energy world for a long time now – the downside of this is a likely stock of assets that are past their prime and may not perform to the best of their ability. In the name of circular economy, our AME team assists with injecting a new lease of life in back-deck technology to safely extend its working capacity, or even – as is the case on an ongoing project regarding a crane control system upgrade – improve the original functionality of the asset.

Remember the winch packages for the Brazilian pipelayers? We recently delivered a portable Aft Recovery System which can be used across all four vessels as and when required for decommissioning operations – widening the clients’ portfolio of services without the need for subcontracting.

Our mission is to be the global leader in the delivery of alternative engineering solutions, which are inspired by creativity, driven by people and add value by solving challenges faced by our customers.

And this fits with the ambitious vision in the Netherlands as they strive to become one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy and decarbonisation.

We work with engineering challenges wherever they are in the world. We find the solution that fits your business needs, empowering you with reliable enabling equipment and exceptional people. If you want to work with a company with a proven track record of delivering project success, get in touch now.