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.

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:

Vessel efficiency through clean technology

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.
  • Global with projects for the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan & Singapore.
  • Corporate affiliations include Chamber of Shipping, SGMF, SMI, The British Rig Owners Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.
  • Marine design and clean tech consultancy: vessels and equipment

Houlder's Culture

We are passionate about project success

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

We put clients’ interests first

We’re proud of our independence

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 acquires Seaspeed Marine Consulting. Founded in 1990, Seaspeed brings extensive expertise in ship hydrodynamics, trials and testing.
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.
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.

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

“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

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

Mark is a Chartered Engineer with 18 years of experience in project engineering/management, construction (subsea and vessel modification), consultancy work, design engineering and tendering. He commenced his career in a large multi-national installation contractor, gaining responsibility and becoming the lead engineer within a busy expanding department prior to specialising in technical consultancy. He combines the wide-ranging experience to understand project risks, restraints and demands with use of technical knowledge to guide decision making.

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

Chief Operating Officer

Jonathan is a Chartered Naval Architect with over thirty years’ experience in the marine industry having worked in Design Consultancy, as a Classification Society surveyor, and on an Owner’s new construction team. His experience extends from initial concept and feasibility evaluations to practical shipbuilding experience, newbuild and large conversion projects. Jonathan’s range of technical experience covers concept through to detail design, stability, structural design, seakeeping, lifesaving appliances, structural fire protection.

His recent experience includes managing the concept design and development of the Tendering specification for the UK’s New Polar Research Vessel. Following the successful completion of this, Houlder was selected as the Technical Adviser to British Antarctic Survey.

Jonathan leads on our R&D developments as well as new builds and vessel conversion across our markets. Energy transition is a specialism with recent work featuring fuel-efficient design, LNG, carbon capture and alternative fuels.

Jonathan Strachan

Chief Technical Officer

Julian has led multi-vessel design, build and procurement projects for numerous international operators and contractors. He has proven expertise in managing technical work scopes including design and builds in Europe, South America and the Far East, as well as commercial, legal and contractual matters related to procurement management, design, plan approval, construction and delivery. As such he is ideally placed to advise on marine projects, be that at a strategic, implementation or technical level.

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 - Ship Design & Engineering

David has broad-reaching experience in the marine industry having worked on both defence and commercial marine vessels in consultancy and Classification Society roles. His experience extends from initial concept and feasibility evaluations to practical shipbuilding experience, newbuild and refit supervision and in-service support. David’s range of technical experience covers concept through to detail design, hydrodynamics, stability, seakeeping and structural design which is balanced with experience of managing large projects for a diverse range of ship types and clients.

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 - Ship Design & Engineering

Ben is a Chartered Naval Architect with direct shipyard experience. His roles include technical management, project leadership and works supervision for major floating asset upgrades include offshore support vessels, pipe and cable layers and dive support ships. He has also worked on a range of yachts, motor craft, military vessels and tankers.

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

An experienced senior leader with Advisory and Project/Operations Management background across a broad portfolio of work supporting commercial, defence and energy sectors. A strong technical background and knowledge in complex floating systems. A personal enthusiasm in the implementation of upcoming technology and automation across the lifecycle for major capital projects is enhanced by over a decade of working at senior corporate levels. Engaged in setting corporate strategy; building global capability in a multi-discipline and multicultural environment; developing client and peer to peer relationships as well as ensuring delivery and integrity of day-to-day execution of complex commercial contracts as part of the Regional Leadership Team across EMEA and APAC. Being embedded in corporate governance and HSE issues across design, construction and operational project phases. Talent management of the multi-discipline resource pools enabled a proactive balance of Schedule, Change, Quality and Risk across capital project execution in both hands on and oversight roles while still supporting cross business unit Subject Matter Expert needs. A strong belief in the team; direct involvement in the hiring and development of all levels of technical engineers/engineering managers and project engineers from apprentice and graduates upwards was reflected in delivery of technical excellence, implementation of new technology and ways of working and the ability to flex capability and capacity as required. Passionate about the Blue Economy and Marine Solutions to fix global climate targets and supporting a safe and sustainable future for all through floating energy and maritime decarbonisation.

Talk to us about our sustainability advisory services

Simon Potter

Director - Sustainability Advisory

“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