All timeline stories.

Tradeshow Offshore Europe

In the heyday of tradeshows Conoship had some impressive exhibition booths.

A very memorable one is the Offshore Europe 77 exhibition in Edinburgh: “Conoship not only participated by means of a beautiful booth but drew extra attention by the – highly appreciated – gesture of donating 20,000 flower bulbs, as the exhibition press wrote: “in the hope of winning the hearts of the people of Aberdeen and the oil industry in this way”.

As we say in the Netherlands: ‘say it with flowers!’
The bulbs are in the white bags you can see in the picture below.

Conoship Beursstand Edinburgh 77      Conoship trade show Edinburgh 1977 - tulips

Tradeshow Edinburgh 1977


IWTA-Pathfinder first vessel Conoship

First contract m.s. I.T.W.A. PATHFINDER

“…it would take ten years before the Conoship group won their first contract. On 1 June 1961 an order was placed for the account of the Pakistani Government on a buoy-laying vessel, which was built at the Gebr. Grol shipyard.” states the bulletin from October 1977.

       IWTA-Pathfinder first vessel Conoship


Read more about the m.s. I.T.W.A. PATHFINDER



Combination Northern Shipbuilders

On 29th July 1955 the association received the Royal Approval of the Articles of Association with its initial name “Conos” (Combination Northern Shipbuilders). As this name not cleary indicate they were involved with ships, the name of the association was changed to “Conoship”. The original structure of the association was: “the promotion of the commercial interests of the members”.
They hoped to achieve this goal by holding meetings, advertising and appointing agents. This shows that from the beginning the members were aware of the
opportunities to increase sales.
Logo Conoship 1955


Groninger Coasters

A painted full color artist impression of a singledeck coaster decorated the front page of our 1967 newsletter. This type of vessel became the Groninger ship par excellence from the early 1920s untill the mid-70s. The relatively small ships, with a loading capacity of 300-500 tonnes, could be built at the shipyards in the province of Groningen, where they slid sideways down from the slipway in the Winschoterdiep, Damsterdiep and Eemskanaal.

Standard ship design

Many inland shippers in those early days felt the need to leave the inland waterways and use ships for bringing and picking up freight from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. From this need, ships were designed that were seaworthy but could also deliver cargo, as it were, to the door.

Due to their shallow draught, coasters could enter all small ports. The hinterland was also accessible via canals and rivers. In short, coasters were inland vessels and seaworthy vessels in one.

Many shipyards in the Netherlands and Germany adopted the basic design of the Groninger coasters and considered it a standard. English competitors called the Groninger coasters ‘little grey devils’.

Containers appeared in the mid-70s

In the mid-70s, this type of ship was no longer needed, another type of ship was required, and containers appeared.

Most of them were scrapped, dozens were converted into sand dredgers, a few ended up in southern waters and the really lucky ones among these coasters were converted into radio broadcasting ships.

Many hundreds of Groningen coasters from that time were scrapped after spending their last years in Greek waters or in the Caribbean.
Conoship has remained active in the design of vessels for this trade throughout it’s lifetime. The size of the vessels increased, but the ideas remained the same; pragmatic and versatile vessels with low fuel consumption.

Below is the painted full color artist impression of a singledeck coaster by Frans Naerebout, which decorated the front page of our 1967 newsletter.

Newsletter cover 1967 Conoship International         Serie singledeck coaster 1967 Conoship International


Logo Conoship International_1995

The Matchmaker

Around 1995 Conoship International created a corporate promotional movie. You can watch the total process of designing, engineering a building a vessel from back in the day. Starring the Conofeeder 200 ‘Bermuda Islander’.
We’ve come a long way since then, while building on our experience and extending our knowledge.

Enjoy watching!



Sorry Mr. King

We were digging through the archives of Conoship International, when we found a rather compelling story. This anecdote gives use some interesting insight into the history of our company, and just how much times have changed. The story tells of our early relationship with China, a country where many of our most respected clients are based today. It recounts a group of Chinese delegates visiting Conoship to exchange knowledge and experience. It’s a tale about international relationships, ignorance, trust, and miscommunication, that shows us just how much our perspectives have changed over the last 50 years. It paints a picture of the developing world of international business. Here is the full story:



We are well-accustomed to visitors at Centraal Staal.  We already received guests from many nationalities. However, a Chinese Trade Delegation of about 20 people, that was a first!  But, when the Central Chamber of Commerce  kindly asked us at Conoship whether we wanted to host the group, we said: “Okay,  bring it on!”.  The People’s Republic of China (also referred to as Communist China) is setting up a shipbuilding industry, and decided to visit the Netherlands to learn from our approach. Obviously, that meant Conoship was on their visiting list too. 

We were informed that almost all our guests exclusively spoke Chinese. We considered doing a crash course in Chinese, but there simply wasn’t enough time for that. In order to present the “Conoship story” we came up with the idea to have the text translated into Chinese.

But who could translate this text at such short notice? After some searching, we found Mr. King, the owner of a very good restaurant in Groningen. We asked him to translate the document, and luckily, he happily obliged. 

He stretched a large sheet of rice paper on his writing table, picked out a bamboo stick with a good, sharp point and produced a beautiful work of art (see photo). When he handed it over to us, we were very pleased with it. 

We got to talking, and he shared some of his experiences from his home country. Mr. King turned out to be a supporter of the Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek regime. This regime is in opposition with Communist China. This didn’t seem to bother Mr. King: in the end, he said, Chinese people all over the world always help each other. Nevertheless, we were a little worried. We were afraid that Mr. King may have inserted a political message into his translation. 

The next day, when we presented the translation to the Chinese delegates, we cautiously asked the translator to check the text to see if it was okay. Luckily, it appeared to be all good.  “Excellent,” he commented. “A story with class!” We gave each of the delegation members a copy of the story, rolled up and held together by a neat red ribbon. The delegation was very surprised by our reception, and they thanked us extensively afterwards in a letter. It was even suggested there might be more opportunities to cooperate in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future will bring.

Afterwards we thought about the story, Mr. King, and our unjustified mistrust. So we would like to apologize to Mr. King, and we hope to dine at your restaurant again soon. In fact, we would be honoured to!

This story showcases just how difficult it used to be for businesses to network. It’s hard to imagine now how challenging it was just to translate a text into Chinese. Nowadays, we can translate almost anything with a few taps on our phone. What’s more interesting, however, is that despite the generosity and helpfulness of the restaurant owner, the Dutch still had trouble trusting him. The huge gap between our cultures and the political tension at play back then made us sceptical. 

Nowadays, we communicate with Chinese business partners on an almost daily basis and a large proportion of our designs are brought to life in China. So fortunately, the “opportunities to cooperate in the future” worked out.

A scan of the article article

Netherlands, Europe

Conoship Green Solutions

The main focus of this decade will be the global energy transition and making shipping more sustainable. With our long history in the design of fuel efficient ships and a proven track record in the development of emission reduction measures for ships, we have a mission: provide the shipping industry with practical solutions for low emission or zero emission ships. To support this mission we have launched a dedicated platform to showcase our solutions.

Green shipping solutions - Conoship International
Conoship International Green Solutions

Visit our website Conoship Green Solutions


MV Ankie and the VentiFoil system

Research & Development

Starting with the development of the ConoDuctTail in 2012, this decade is fully dedicated to further improving fuel efficiency through research and development. Other noteworthy events are winning the KNVTS Maritime Award in 2015 for Walk to Work vessel Kroonborg and in 2019 for the eConowind-unit.


ConoDuctTail Development    Offshore_Maintenance_Support_Vessel    Carolina Ventifoils Econowind
ConoDuctTail  (2012)                                       Walk to Work Vessel (2015)                               Econowind-units (2019)


With the ConoDuctTail the propulsive efficiency is maximized by optimizing an aft ship shape with a duct, a nozzle and a propeller with a large diameter. The optimized ducted-tunnel design results in a considerable reduction of fuel consumption and emissions.

Walk to Work vessel Kroonborg

Based on the statement “a changing offshore world demands an innovative vessel” Conoship developed for, and in close cooperation with Royal Wagenborg and Royal Niestern Sander a new type of specialized offshore support and maintenance “Walk to Work” (W2W) vessel, named Kroonborg.


The eConowind-unit is an easy-to-mount unit to enable wind assisted propulsion for existing and new cargo ships. Market introduction started in 2019 and several ships are now sailing with it, achieving fuel savings of 20% to even 50%.

Deo Volente

Metamorphosis Conoship

In this decade Conoship sets a new course as is explained in its periodical Newsletter: “Due to the diminishing number of member shipyards (10), Conoship International has implemented a change of business policy. Since the beginning of January 2004, the company has also started to work directly for shipowners and other maritime and logistic players, as well as for a limited number of other shipyards, both in the Netherlands and abroad.”

This new policy results in Conoship creating with and for Hartman Marine BV the design of their new dry cargo ship. In 2007 this vessel, MS Deo Volente, was rewarded the KNVTS ‘Ship of the Year Award’. The dry cargo ship has very special qualities and meets specific demands. Considering different travelling distances, speeds and fuels, despite the increasing daily and fuel costs, the fast ship proved much more efficient in terms of net proceeds per pay. The vessel is in service since January 2007 and the operational capabilities and vessel economics have proven to be above all expectations.

Read more about the vessels particulars


Success in series

“Forty vessels, mostly 90 to 160 meters length, were delivered last year by the associated shipyards of Conoship International. By joining forces in Conoship, the shipyards were very successful in obtaining repeat orders for their multi-purpose dry cargo vessels. The vessels were presented in different variants: geared/not geared, with or without ice class, and sometimes also a bulker version.” according to the Conoship Newsletter of 1998.

“A perceivable trend in the market is the growing deadweight. Niestern Sander Shipyards joined Bijlsma Shipyard and Frisian Shipyard Welgelegen by delivering its first vessel with a breadth exceeding 16 metres. This ship was named Viscount. The three shipyards are therefore capable of building vessels wider than 16 metres.”

M.V. Viscount General Cargo Vessel - Conoship International

Read more about the vessel M.V. Viscount