Dutch Shipbuilding in a Globalising World

Shipyards, related industries, and international competition, 1945-1983
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This research focusses on why the Dutch shipbuilding industry experienced such a dynamic period after World War II. The years after the war were seen as very successful, but from the 1960s onwards there was a strong decline and an ultimate bankruptcy of almost all large shipyards. Although Japanese competition was an important driver for the later dynamics in the global shipbuilding market, its rise does not explain why the Dutch shipbuilding industry also persistently performed worse than the other main European shipbuilding industries in terms of output. By focussing on the development of competitiveness of shipbuilding companies, both through their internal capabilities as well as through their relationships with the related industries shipping and the maritime supply industry, this research intends to offer an integrated perspective of the consequences of international competition. It researches the reasons for industrial rise and decline and offers insights into the structure of and the relationships within the shipbuilding industry. Moreover, it explores the actions of key decision-makers and the intentions they had in face of strong international competition. Lastly, it intends to provide a better understanding of the development of the shipbuilding industry by broadening the concept of ship production to activities outside of shipyards. The research includes both quantitative as well as qualitative elements. Moreover, it uses a wide variety of sources, ranging from company archives of shipyards to maritime journals and ship register books. Focussing on a geographically defined maritime industry within a dynamic period, this topic aligns with and contributes to the field of business history, maritime history, and economic geography.

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