Your partner for a sustainable future

About Us

At Houlder, we believe the most complex challenges require fresh thinking in engineering, design and project delivery. We help you navigate the complex; demystifying the options and implementing the most practical solutions.

We are specialists in engineering design, clean technology and technical consultancy for the marine and offshore environments. Whether it’s helping you meet the challenges of the low carbon energy transition, improving vessel efficiency through clean technology and automation, or building the infrastructure for renewable energy, Houlder is your partner for a sustainable future.

Our expertise and technical capability has been built up over decades of delivering diverse and complex projects globally. With multi-disciplinary teams and a network of associates around the world, we pride ourselves on being agile and responsive, deploying quickly to meet any challenge.

Houlder people are known for going the extra mile. We only succeed when you succeed, so we thrive on problem-solving and trusted relationships built on openness, honesty and flexibility. We’re different because we’re independent and owned by our employees. At the end of the day, we’re all in it together.
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We promise independence, technical reliability and innovative, practical solutions

Versatile, multidisciplinary teams tackle diverse assignments from pathfinding feasibility studies and handling equipment design to hardcore FEA and ‘new build’ client friend. We advise vessel owners on options for ‘greening’ their fleets, critically assessing possibilities and staying with the project through to retrofittting new clean technology.

Our focus is on:

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Vessel efficiency through clean technology

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Low carbon energy transition

Quick facts

  • Employs 50 professionals in the UK. A network of associates means large project teams can be deployed quickly and easily.
  • Employee-owned. It operates as an Employee Benefit Trust to support and reward sustainable growth.
  • Global with projects for the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan & Singapore.
  • Corporate affiliations include Subsea UK, NOF-Energy, The British Rig Owners Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.
  • Marine design and clean tech consultancy: vessels and equipment
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Houlder's Culture

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We are passionate about project success

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We relish intractable problems requiring brains, tenacity and practical know-how

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We put clients’ interests first

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We’re proud of our independence

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We build great relationships by being flexible, responsive and engaging

These characteristics define us, shape our relationships and influence our projects. They have grown from our history operating in the marine environment and reflect our direct practical experience.

Houlder’s culture ensures we operate with integrity as one team across market sectors, disciplines and geographical regions. Through nurturing it, we aim to support our ambitions to continually improve as a place to work, as a customer and a supplier.

The company has also committed to supporting professionals from the beginning of their career. Houlder runs a wide range of internship programmes, graduate training schemes, work placements and apprenticeships.

Houlder is a recipient of the “Work Placement of the Year – Best SME” award from the National Council of Work Experience (NCWE). The NCWE Awards recognise businesses from all sectors that provide exceptional student and graduate internships.

Our History

Houlder’s history dates back to the 1840s. It has been closely associated with the marine and ship building industry ever since.

Houlder celebrates its 30th anniversary as an independent engineering consultancy.
Houlder is named in the Top Five of the Sunday Times International Fast Track 200 list. This is based on a two year average growth in international sales of 182.97%
Houlder was named Design Team of the Year by the British Engineering Excellence Awards for its innovative offshore wind pile handling equipment.
A Houlder Employee Benefit Trust is established. This creates an employee owned business focused on sustainable growth.
Houlder expands its capability by acquiring Naval Architecture business, Hart, Fenton & Company. The Portsmouth based firm was responsible for pioneering fast ferries, offshore vessels, pipe and cable layers, RoRo and Ro-pax ferries and specialist use vessels. The Hart, Fenton & Company team, including its senior management, has been fully integrated into the Houlder business as of 2012.
Houlder leads the consortium that delivers the Strategic Sealift Fleet of RoRo ferries to the UK Ministry of Defence. At the time, the six vessels built in the UK and Germany represented the biggest Private Finance Initiative project in the UK defence sector.
Houlder Limited is formed when Houlder’s technical team launches as an independent business offering design and engineering services.
CY Tung’s Orient Overseas group acquires Furness Withy. Its Houlder subsidiaries, vessels and assets begin to be sold. The last ship in Houlder history is the coal carrier Oswestry Grange sold in 1985.
Houlder investment in liquefied gas introduced the company to the offshore oil & gas business and it played a key role in the development of the North Sea fields. Initially in close collaboration with Comex, the French diving company this quickly led to a growing stake in owning and operating drilling and subsea support vessels. Pioneering projects during this period of Houlder history included the conversion of ore carrier Oregis to a pipe connection vessel and the design and build of the Uncle John dive support semi submersible named in honour of its designer and company chairman John Houlder.
Houlder joins forces with the French Gazocean Group to provide liquefied petroleum gas carriers. With nine tankers, the company soon becomes the largest operator of these sophisticated vessels operating under the British Flag.
After operating as one of the largest commercial shipping fleets in Northern Europe for several years, Houlder spots an opportunity distributing ore to heavy industry. Houlder Ore Carriers Limited is formed and a specialist fleet of six vessels soon follows.
Ten years after Edwin Houlder’s death and following a short period of corporate uncertainty, Houlder was acquired by Furness Withy. The company sold its Australian interests and built a fleet of general cargo vessels and refrigerated meat carriers to service routes to South America.
Edwin recruits his brother Alfred and the Houlder Brothers’ Shipping Line is formed. They soon decide that the future lies in buying their own ships as well as chartering tonnage. Quickly embracing steam, they expand their reach to India, South Africa and Argentina.
Edwin becomes a ship and insurance broker in his own right, proving a success as a risk taking entrepreneur. He specialises in the new opportunities presented by trade with Australia.
After his father abandons the family due to gambling debts, young Sussex born Edwin Houlder moves to London to work for a Greek Merchant company.

The Houlder Maltese Cross

Houlder’s distinctive logo is based on the Maltese Cross, adopted as the house flag of Houlder Brothers’ Shipping Line in the 1800’s. The Maltese Cross icon was used by Lloyd’s Register to denote a ship built under special survey.  It stands as a mark of Houlder’s quality to this day.

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Credit: Royal Museums Greenwich. The house flag of Houlder Brothers and Co Ltd, London. Used on the SS 'Thorpe Grange' 1889.

Management Team

Houlder’s team provides a wealth of experience in engineering, design and project delivery

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“We give you access to the combined knowhow of experienced professionals – all with a passion for the industry you work in.”

Rupert Hare has nearly twenty years’ experience within Houlder focusing on project and contract management across the offshore energy and commercial marine sectors. He has a wealth of experience leading relationships within the oil & gas and renewables industries, government and marine regulators specifically heading up vessel design, adaptation and equipment installation projects.

Rupert Hare

Chief Executive Officer

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“Houlder is on an ambitious growth plan, built on a solid foundation of customer service. It’s a challenging but rewarding place to be right now.”

Simon has over 30 years’ experience in a wide range of activities within the marine sector. For the past fifteen years he has been a director of ship owning and operating companies as well as engineering companies operating in the marine environment. As a chartered Naval Architect he has extensive experience of design, analysis and project management.

Simon Harris

Chief Commercial Officer

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Simon is a former CFO of a global technology PR business which he joined from Price Waterhouse. A trained engineer, he went on to gain an MBA from Ashridge Business School prior to establishing a financial change management business in 2003. His experience includes preparing several SME finance departments for expansion and change.

Simon Hill

Chief Financial Officer

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Mark’s team engineers offshore solutions as economies transition to carbon-neutral. Experience spans structural analysis and design in established sectors (Oil & Gas and Fixed Offshore Wind) to technical advisory studies in lower carbon fuels (LNG and Hydrogen) and Floating Offshore Wind.

Mark Goalen

Director, Offshore Energy Engineering

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Jonathan leads on new builds and vessel conversion across our markets. Energy transition is a specialism with recent work featuring fuel-efficient design, LNG and carbon capture.

Jonathan Strachan

Director, New Build & Vessel Conversion

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Julian leads Marine Equipment Design and associated ‘build partner’ relationships. He also runs Expert Services – an extended team providing seasoned technical input on legal disputes and contractual negotiations.

Julian Mason

Director, Equipment & Expert Services

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David specialises in technical advisory work throughout a vessel’s lifecycle. He has a particular interest in the evaluation and application of clean technology.

David Wing

Director, Ferries

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Mark is an experienced Master Mariner with a wealth of experience in Marine Operations, Marine Project Commercialisation & Execution. He specialises in supporting leadership teams and project teams across our sectors to identify emerging technologies, innovative solutions and marine practices which strengthen client focus on a more sustainable and more efficient project execution.

Mark Williamson

Director, Energy Transition & Marine Operations

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Ben leads the delivery of Houlder’s project management services, which include technical management, project leadership and works supervision for major vessel upgrades and retrofits.

Ben Myers

Project Director, Technical Project Manager

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“Charting a ‘solo’ course through this swirl of uncertainty is close to impossible. That’s why we’re often asked by clients to build their knowledge, evaluate their challenges and assess their options. We work closely with research funds and clean-tech providers bringing decades of industry experience to bear. Our position is independent, technical ‘client friend’ for the decarbonising decades ahead.”

Rupert Hare, Chief Executive Officer