Mammoet Transport B.V.
Mammoet Transport B.V.
Jointly Owned Subsidiary of Koninglijke Nedlloyd N. V. and Decafin SpA.
Sales: NLG 320 million (US$160 million) (1996 est.)
SICs: 4789 Transportation Services, Not Elsewhere
Classified; 4499 Water Transportation Services, Not
Mammoet Transport B.V. is one of the world’s leading “heavy-lift” and special transport companies, with a fleet of specialized transport and lifting vehicles, vessels, and equipment with lifting capacities ranging up to 13,000 tons or more. Based in The Netherlands, Mammoet operates through its primary subsidiaries Mammoet Decalift International B.V., handling land-based projects, and Mammoet Shipping B.V., handling oceangoing transport, and through a network of subsidiaries located worldwide. The combination of land-based and oceangoing transport capacity enables the company to offer the logistics planning and implementation of large-scale and long-distance transportation projects. Mammoet specializes in large-scale operations such as the transportation of nuclear reactor cores, power plants, pre-constructed mining operations, and other “mammoth” projects, often to remote locations lacking the roads and other infrastructure needed to transport the extreme weights associated with these structures.
The company’s land-based equipment ranges from its fleet of computer-driven SPMTs (self-propelled modular transporters), with total capacity of more than 11,000 tons, to conventional heavy-duty platform trailers with total capacity of more than 12,000 tons. The company’s vehicle fleet includes more than 85 road trailer systems; more than 70 heavy-duty road trailers with capacities ranging from 25 to 100 tons; more than 100 heavy-duty road trucks; and a fleet of forklifts with capacities ranging up to 20 tons. Mammoet also operates its self-designed Hydra-Jack lifting system, composed of nearly 20 units with total lifting capacities exceeding 7,000 tons. The company’s fleet of some 200 cranes offers lifting capacities ranging from ten to 2,000 tons.
The company’s land operations form the complement to its extensive oceangoing fleet of heavy cargo vessels, under the direction of the Mammoet Shipping subsidiary. Mammoet Shipping operates as the managing agent for Mammoet Heavy Lift Partners, a pool of vessel owners, including several Mammoet subsidiaries and affiliates, and Mitsui-OSK Lines of Tokyo. The combined fleet includes Mammoet’s “Happy” transporters: the Happy Buccaneer and the more recently (1997) commissioned Happy River, Happy Rover, and Happy Ranger, with lengths of 138 meters (145 for the Buccaneer) and with steer-based wheelhouses complemented by traditional bow-based wheelhouses for Suez and Panama canal passages. The company also owns or manages a number of other vessels, including the Project Orient, the Project Arabia, the 161-meter Enlivener and Encourager, and the 153-meter Envoyager. In 1998 the company added the Sailer Jupiter, owned by partner Mitsui-OSK Lines (which also owns the Envoyager, Enlivener, and Encourager), to its fleet of vessels.
Mammoet operates as the heavy transport subsidiary of The Netherlands’ logistics and transportation company Koninglijke Nedlloyd, which controls approximately two-thirds of Mammoet, and Italy’s Decafin SpA. Mammoet remains a profitable arm of Nedlloyd, despite heavy investments needed for the subsidiary’s 1997 launch of its new Mammoet Engineering operation. In the late 1990s Mammoet added approximately NLG 320 million to Nedlloyd’s annual sales.
Mammoth Mergers in the 1970s
Mammoet was the product of the merger of three family-owned Netherlands transport companies—HTM Goedkoop, Van Wezel, and Stoof—between the years 1971 and 1973. All three companies had long histories in goods transportation. The oldest, Goedkoop, traced its foundation back to 1805 and was one of the chief instigators of the Mammoet merger. Goedkoop’s specialty historically had been water-based transport, plying its fleet of barges and tugboats through The Netherlands’ highly developed canal system. Under the leadership of Jan Goedkoop, the decision had been made to expand into land-based transport. In this way, the company would be able to offer a complete range of transport services, with a focus on the heavyweight sector. Joining Goedkoop in 1971 was Van Wezel, which dated its origins to 1845; the merged company took on a new name, Mammoet Transport B.V., using the Dutch word for “mammoth” to emphasize the company’s intended market. The new company represented as much a pooling of equipment as a gathering of know-how in the growing and increasingly complex heavy-lift transport market.
The third founding member of the company joined later that year, when Stoof, located in the southern city of Breda, was taken over by Mammoet Transport. The family-owned Stoof had been founded in 1927, delivering packages with horse-drawn carts. The company began moving into heavier transports in the years following World War II and over the following two decades had become a specialist in heavyweight and complicated logistical transports. Stoof’s land-based operations complemented Mammoet’s water-based transport capacity, enabling Mammoet to position itself as a transport provider covering the full range of steps—whether on land or over sea—from factory floor to final destination. At the time of the new takeover, Stoof had begun operations on its first international contract, the transport of nuclear power reactor vessels to Sweden. That experience would prove necessary for enabling Mammoet to become a worldwide heavy-lift specialist.
The transport of oversized and heavyweight objects became a more and more common occurrence in the 1970s, as construction and production techniques enabled the fabrication of larger and larger structures. Other factors came into play: the oil crisis of the early 1970s prompted most of northern Europe to begin massive offshore oil exploration and exploitation operations in the North Sea. The increased offshore and sea-based activity would further encourage Mammoet’s international ambitions. In 1973 the company established a specialized seagoing arm, Mammoet Shipping B.V., as a partnership with Dutch shipbuilding giant KNSM (Royal Netherlands Steamship Company). Within this partnership, Mammoet acquired its first specialized heavy lift vessel, the Happy Pioneer. A former sludge carrier, the Happy Pioneer opened new international opportunities for Mammoet. Although the company originally had expected to serve primarily the European market, it was able to press the Happy Pioneer into service on longer runs. By 1974 the company had begun delivering to the Far East, transporting components of a nuclear power station to South Korea. The Happy Pioneer was indeed a pioneer, being the first transport ship to include lifting equipment permanently affixed to the starboard (right) side of the vessel—a feature that soon would become commonplace in the international shipping industry.
Over the next several years Mammoet gradually became a subsidiary of KNSM, as the larger company acquired Mammoet’s shares. By 1976 Mammoet was a full subsidiary of KNSM. The merger into the larger company gave Mammoet the capital to expand its equipment. Two important additions to the company’s fleet were the Happy Rider and Happy Runner, both of which were custom-built and delivered in 1976, and both of which were designed with starboard-side integrated lifting systems. While Mammoet was expanding its oceangoing fleet, it also was innovating on land. In the mid-1970s the company was able to take the lead in the international heavy-lift industry with the development of its Hydra-Jack system, which used an arch framework to provide a combination of hydraulic and electric powered lifting units capable of lifting far heavier weights than standard crane systems.
While Mammoet was expanding its business among its European neighbors, during the second half of the 1970s it also was establishing an important presence in the Middle East, in particular among the oil-producing Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman. In 1979 Mammoet’s position was enhanced further by the takeover of Dutch rival Big Lift, a subsidiary of Holland American Line, which was moving then to concentrate its focus on its cruise ship business. Big Lift not only brought Mammoet a stronger position in Europe, it also brought Mammoet the joint venture Alatas Big Lift. Later named Alatas Mammoet, this subsidiary, based in Saudi Arabia, would prove crucial for the growth of Mammoet’s Middle East operations.
Back home in Europe, Mammoet added a new partnership, Mammoet/BBI, providing trailer transport operations between the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Founded as a 50/50 partnership in 1977, Mammoet/BBI would become wholly owned by Mammoet Transport in 1983. At that time the company was renamed as Mammoet Ferry Transport B.V., specializing in English Channel and North Sea cargo transport.
Mammoet Transport’s philosophy is the execution of integrated transport from production site to job site, by sea and land, whereby the transport of project cargo, including heavy lifts, are the special aim.
New Owners for the 1980s
The 1981 merger of parent KNSM with Koninglijke Ned-Hoy d (a.k.a. Royal Nedlloyd) gave Mammoet Transport a new parent and a new role as the rapidly expanding Nedlloyd’s Heavy Transport division. After acquiring full control of the Mammoet/BBI partnership in 1983, Mammoet, under its Mammoet Shipping arm, next formed Mammoet Heavy Lift Partners in 1984. Created as a pool of heavyweight-capable oceangoing vessels, owned not only by Mammoet Transport, but also by Germany’s Project Carriers (later Hansa Linie) and Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts, Mammoet Heavy Lift Partners would come under operational control of Mammoet Shipping, which acted as managing agent. While operating Mammoet and other partners’ vessels (including those of later partner Mitsui-OSK Lines of Tokyo, which joined in 1989), the Heavy Lift Partners also operated a number of charter vessels. This arrangement gave Mammoet one of the world’s foremost fleets of heavy-lift ocean vessels. At the end of the decade, this position was consolidated further with the merger of Mammoet Transport and Hansa Linie’s shipping interests into Mammoet-Hansa-Linie A.G. Bremen.
Expansion During the 1980s and 1990s
In 1986 Mammoet expanded its Dutch presence with the acquisition of 50 percent control of Walter Wright, the transport subsidiary of Verenigde Bedrijven Bredero. Formed as Walter Wright Mammoet, the remaining 50 percent of Walter Wright would be acquired the following year. In 1987, also, Mammoet made moves to enter the North American markets, acquiring what would become Mammoet Western Inc., based in California. The company’s U.S. holdings would be strengthened before the end of the decade with the purchase of 50 percent of Davenport & Sons Inc., based in Rosharon, Texas. This acquisition was regrouped under the name Davenport Mammoet Heavy Transport Inc. A separate subsidiary was set up in Canada. Although some 55 percent of Mammoet Canada Limited would be held by third parties at the start of the 1990s, in 1993 the company acquired full ownership of its Canadian subsidiary. Meanwhile, the company also acquired majority interests in its Davenport subsidiary, building to 90 percent in 1990 and to nearly 92 percent in 1993, before taking full control in 1995.
The booming economies in the Asian Pacific region presented new opportunities for Mammoet. In addition to the vessels added to the Heavy Lift Partners group by youngest member Mitsui, Mammoet had been expanding the company’s presence, with a minority share in Skanza Mammoet Transport Sdn Bhd, based in Malaysia. In 1994 Mammoet increased its share of this company to 88 percent. In that same year, Mammoet Shipping opened its Korean office. Mammoet’s growth was reflected in the order for three new vessels placed in 1995. Parent Nedlloyd, however, after an extensive expansion drive, had been struggling for profits. In 1995 Mammoet Transport was merged with the heavy-lift operations of Italy’s De-cafin, forming Mammoet Decalift International B.V. Mammoet Transport continued to hold the majority (67 percent) of these operations. Such was not the case with its Mammoet Shipping subsidiary, which in 1995 was placed under the majority control of Spliethoff’s Bevrachtingskantoor. From 51 percent control at the start of 1995, Spliethoff would build to a 70 percent holding by the end of that year.
After establishing new subsidiaries in South Africa in 1996 and in the Philippines in 1997, Mammoet took delivery of its three new vessels, the Happy Rover, the Happy Ranger, and the Happy River. These new vessels were joined by partner Mitsui’s new Sailor Jupiter, which set sail in the first half of 1998. By then Mammoet long had been established as the world’s premier heavy-lift transporter, with annual sales of approximately NLG 320 million per year. Whereas the Asian region had formed an increasingly important role in Mammoet’s activities, the effect of that region’s economic problems in the late 1990s on Mammoet—and parent Nedlloyd—remained to be seen.
Mammoet Decalift International B.V.; Mammoet Shipping B.V.; Mammoet Stoof VOF; StoTra B.V.; Mammoet Transport N.V. (Belgium); Mammoet Transport (UK) Ltd.; Mammoet Transport Norge A/S; Mammouth Transport France S.a.r.L; Mammoet Ferry Transport B.V.; Mammoet Ferry Transport GmbH (Germany); Alatas Mammoet Co. Ltd. (Saudi Arabia); Mammouth Gulf (United Arab Emirates); Navigation Mammouth Gulf (Qatar); Mammoet Transport USA LLC; Mammoet Western Inc.; Davenport Mammoet LLC; Mammoet Canada Inc.; Mammoet Kew (South Africa); Mamut de Colombia S.A.; Mammoet Transport B.V. (Japan); Mammoet Shipping (Korea); Walter Wright Mammoet Ltd. (Hong Kong); Vermerk Limited (Bangladesh); Syarikat Walter Wright (B) Sdn Bhd (Brunei); Walter Wright Mammoet (PH) Inc. (Philippines).
“Mammoet Company Profile,” Amsterdam: Mammoet Transport B.V., 1997.
—M. L. Cohen