Hatenboer-Water supplies water treatment plant

Atradius news

Hatenboer-Water was founded back in 1906 and among other things, the company supplied drinking water to ships in Rotterdam harbour with 12 boats.


Over the years, the onboard water supply has changed considerably and the number of boats the company has for this service has been reduced to six. However, they still act as an extension of the local drinking water company.



Hatenboer-Water  began to look for alternative solutions for keeping water on board. As a result, the company began to focus more and more on water technology. This includes the desalination of water on board ships. But it also includes pump sets, disinfection of water in various ways, technical water production (removing or adding substances to water) and water management. Consider, for example, the drinking water stored in bunkers near the engines. In this case, the quality of the water has to be well managed and it has to be ensured that there is no growth of bacteria in the water. Here too, Hatenboer Water can help.

For the installations, we handle the engineering, assembly and testing ourselves. We do this at the Schiedam site where the water technology branch is located, employing around 100 people. Here we produce the installations that can be installed and commissioned directly at the customer's premises. The water supply branch in the port of Rotterdam employs 20 people.

Willem Buijs, CEO Hatenboer

Maritime and offshore hubs are located in Singapore, Dubai and Houston. From these locations, they provide support to their international customers through their own branch offices. Major customers from the Netherlands include the Dutch Navy, Damen, IHC, Holland Shipyards, Van Oord and Boskalis.

Willem Buijs, CEO Hatenboer: "Until the 1980s, desalination of water was done by evaporation. In the 1980s, a new method was developed, namely reverse osmosis. During that process, seawater is forced through a membrane and the salt water is concentrated and separated from the fresh water. The shipping industry was not immediately enthusiastic about this new method. They wanted to be sure that the technology would work really well. We then got in touch with the horticulture sector, which always needs a constant supply of fresh water. They embraced the new technique and it could prove itself there. The horticulture sector still accounts for about 20 per cent of our company's turnover."

The maritime sector began to show interest once reverse osmosis had proved its worth. Ships are becoming more and more sustainable. Producing drinking water by reverse osmosis fits in very well with this concept. This is because it can be done without running the ship's main engine, as opposed to producing water by evaporation. So less fuel is needed.


The fact that Hatenboer's systems cover the entire process, from water extraction to the tap, is what sets them apart on the market. Furthermore, the installations are robust and easy to operate. After all, technical support is not readily available at sea. And any problems should be easy to solve.

These elements ensure that the installations can also be used in difficult areas. In the meantime, Hatenboer has made a good name for itself in the world when it comes to water. They are active in Kenya, for example, where they have already supplied several desalination plants for the port of Mombassa. They are now adding several more plants. So this is expanding an existing project to desalinate seawater into drinking water.

Willem Buijs, CEO Hatenboer: "Our buyer is a local party responsible for the installation, commissioning, operational management and maintenance of the plant at the end customer, the Port of Mombassa, part of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). Previously, the port authority was connected to the regular drinking water infrastructure of the local drinking water company Mowasco, where drinking water is made from freshwater sources. This supply is limited and thus drinking water is scarce. With current and new desalination systems, this method is no longer needed and drinking water is produced on site. The activity (desalination plant) thus causes a shift to a less taxed water source (from freshwater to seawater). More water from freshwater sources now remains available to the local population. Moreover, the port authority now has a constant supply of freshwater."

There is a lot of water scarcity in the world, but where it is greatest, there is generally a coastline and therefore salt water available within 20 kilometres; we can make good drinking water from it.

Willem Buijs, CEO Hatenboer-Water