Nautikaris will be celebrating its 50th anniversary during Ocean Business. The company is now led by the third generation, Sander Karis, and the organisation’s headcount is 7. Nautikaris is a service provider that keeps in mind that not all clients in the hydrographic sector are looking for an off the shelf solution offered by manufacturers. When additional expertise or custom solutions are required, Nautikaris will make a proposal that looks beyond the box, fulfilling the need of the client.
Trade agency Nautikaris was founded in 1964 by Johan Karis out of frustration. He was hired in 1956 as commercial manager for ELAC Echosounders for Duiker Oliebranders, as agent. In nine years’ time he managed to make fishery, hydrographic departments of dredging companies and the Netherlands Waterways Authority Rijkswaterstaat, pilots, the hydrographic vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy and scientific institutions familiar with the ELAC brand. In 1964, he was told that Duiker Oliebranders had decided to terminate the representation. Johan Karis took on the representation and decided to start Nautikaris. Johan increased the turnover of ELAC Echosounders and expanded the business. In 1976, Rob joined the company and in 1982, Radio Holland became the agent for ELAC. After Johan passed away in 1983, Rob continued the business.
The range of products extended from the Topfil wire distance measuring device, the Vyner laser distance measurement device, jalons, measuring tape, Raytheon DE719 portable echo sounders, underwater connectors, cables, consumables, HYPACK software, Satel Radio modems, Hemisphere GNSS receivers, turbidity sensors, Knudsen echo sounders and Van Veen grabs – to name but a few.
In 2006, the third generation Karis, Sander, acquired the business and took it to where it is today. Clients range from hydrography, government, and dredging companies and research institutions. Geographically, there is an emphasis on the Netherlands and Belgium but in fact, the world is its oyster.
The most important aspect of Nautikaris nowadays is its experience as added value. A client who turns to the company finds a listening ear and as they know the products inside out, an optimal solution will be found for the application. Often, the solution will be chosen by looking beyond the specifications of the products. Or even by assisting in establishing the required specifications for a job. The next stage is selecting and sourcing the equipment followed by the implementation, including training of the staff if so needed. This will be achieved with a short lead time and delivered turn-key.
The organisation consists of 7 people, which means the lines of communication are short – decisions can be made and questions can be answered fairly quickly. Modules like Hemisphere GNSS boards, Knudsen single beam and multibeam echo sounders or oceanographic sensors of Aanderaa and Vaisala can be fitted together for many applications. They can be applied in buoys or survey vessels – Nautikaris is regularly consulted by ship builders when installing a hydrograhic survey suite. The organisation is also flexible and can easily respond to changing demand. One of the most recent additions is a Coda Octopus Echoscope, which can be rented with the support of specialists. In fact, this has become an operational branch of Nautikaris: Underwater Imaging Consultancy, solving the issue that companies do not always want to own the equipment
but require it for a single project.
Future is Towards Various Trends
Nautikaris has been aware of several trends that move the hydrographic world. There is a move towards renewables. Especially offshore wind farms, tidal and wave energy require specialised hydrographic knowledge for their operations and construction. Nautikaris sees additional opportunities, such as for the Gemini wind farm; the company recently supplied the temporary lighting. Also, the surveys need to be done in deeper waters and renewables are of increasing importance for Oil and Gas.
Looking at the equipment, there is a trend towards plug and play: the times of complicated installations and calibrations will be a thing of the past. More and more, sensors, GNSS and INS will be packaged in one box to be installed calibrated from the factory. At the same time, they will become smaller and even portable. This means flexibility in operation, which is especially important in the dredging industry. As Sander says: “The demand will be ‘connect, switch on, ready’. It just needs to work, anywhere and at any time.”
Another constant characteristic of Nautikaris, entrepreneurship, is there to stay. They see opportunities that benefit customers. The relationship with the clients leads to new ideas and innovations – which are followed up by a high service level.
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, Nautikaris is determined to add the same number of years to its lifespan. It is ready to use remote support and the expertise that the company has acquired over time. Operating as the ‘specialists around the corner’, customers are provided professional support that matches their ambitions and innovations that address their requests. That’s how Nautikaris defines the added value it offers, in a close cooperative relationship.