Belgian Jan de Nul invests in new XL cable-laying vessel

After Jan De Nul ordered the largest cable-laying vessel in the world at the end of last year, the group is now investing in an identical vessel. It shows the group’s ambition to become a major player in the market for the construction of long submarine power cables.

With an actual fleet of three cable layers, Jan De Nul is already a well-known name for marine cables that connect offshore wind farms or islands. Over the past ten years, this fleet has installed 2,500 km of submarine cables in 25 countries.

‘XL ships’

In the coming years, two more enormous and so-called ‘XL ships’ will be added. They can each transport 28,000 tons of cables, a multiple of the 5,000 or 10,000 tons that most ships can handle. Other ships under construction have a maximum capacity of 19,000 tons.

The immense ships are simply a necessity to handle larger projects. The cost price of the new ship is unknown, but with the investment, the company invests heavily in new submarine power lines.

‘Bigger and longer cables’

New offshore wind farms will be located further and further from the coast,” explained Philippe Hutse, Offshore Energy director at Jan De Nul in De Tijd. “There is a great need for electricity from solar and wind farms located far from the users. That means bigger ships and bigger and longer cables.”

The Nemo Link cable between Belgium and the UK, commissioned five years ago, had a subsea route of 130 kilometers. Plans for other connections, from Belgium to Denmark or Ireland, are many more.


Another high-profile project: the installation of 1,000 kilometers of cables to connect two islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi with the mainland. The group is currently also working on the Greenlink interconnector, which connects the electricity grids of Ireland and Wales. And another 2,500 kilometers of cable routes have been booked in the order book for the coming years. That immediately explains why we decided to order a new XL cable laying vessel.

Jan Van de Velde, Director of New Building at Jan De Nul Group: “We are and remain a big believer in the transition to renewable energy. With this new XL cable-laying vessel, we further strengthen our pioneering role.”


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