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May Jun 2015 Marina World

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MARKET REPORT: COLOMBIA Santa Marta is the only marina in Colombia with a shipyard. Shipyard director, Michelangelo Marchini, explains that, barring haul-out, all repairs are available for superyachts. Currently, he says, 110 berths are occupied, 20% of which are tourist boats and the remainder permanent. Marina Puerto Valero is located 15 minutes from Barranquilla, the largest city and port on the northern Caribbean coast and an hour from Cartagena. It has 460 berths, although just 208 currently have full services, and accommodates boats from 20 to 130ft. It is undergoing a project to build a drystack with space for 500 boats. The marina has a 150 ton hoist and, by the end of the year, will offer a maintenance and repair shop. Average occupancy is currently 30-40%, but this is expected to fill up rapidly. An additional project to build a hotel with 36 rooms is being floated to complement the 72 houses and restaurant that are already in place. All modern services are available at the marina. Plans in place for more With most marinas at almost 100% occupancy, particularly in Cartagena, the need for more space is paramount. Plans for up to 22 new marinas have been rumoured, but many in the country have labelled this a “paper fantasy”. However, if all the projects currently planned were to come to fruition, in five years’ time Cartagena would have a further 1,000 berths. Details of new projects are sketchy Eduardoño is the biggest boat builder in Cartagena and has 340 wet and dry berths split between two locations. Further wet berths are being added. Photo: Jaime Borda Fotografía Aerea and, with so many rumours, it is hard to obtain accurate information. One thing is, however, certain; it is pivotal that Colombia attract foreign investment for marina development. With no financial backing from the government and limited private funds, the country relies on foreign companies to recognise its potential and invest in facilities. One new project is Marina de San Andres, which will comprise 151 berths for boats from 25 to 164ft. It will provide full services for both boats and crew, and offer a repair and maintenance area. Next up is the Marina of Providencia, with 50 berths catering to boats from 25ft to 160ft. According to sources, the development of the project will depend on the completion of dredging of the access canal and specifications are subject to technical studies. The Marina of Riohache will have 180 berths and provide full services to boats and crew. Barbacoa Marina in Barú will have docks, a restaurant, pool, bar and 63 houses. Multicentro Nautico Photo: Procolombia Manzanillo Marina Club is a small, fully occupied facility with associated modern services. – with a first phase of development scheduled to complete by the end of April this year – will have a marina, drystack storage area, restaurants and commercial offices. A further 12 regions in Colombia are earmarked for development. Colombia is looking forward to an interesting decade of nautical development. Observers are cautious, however. Esteban Biondi, associate principal at US-based marina consultancy Applied Technology and Management, gave a keynote presentation at the Cartagena Boat Show conference on the development of sustainable marinas. He is positive about the future for the country’s nautical facilities but takes a realistic stance. “It’s uncertain whether the next ten years will see Colombia reach its full potential,” he says. “There’s a lot of activity, ideas and plans, but it’s still a new and developing market.” “Colombia’s ultimate international success will depend on how quickly it can develop high quality boating infrastructure. It has huge potential and all the ingredients for success are there: industry, commerce, recreation and tourism,” he adds. Julie Balzano, export development director at the US National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), agrees. She says: “People want to come to Colombia; demand is exceeding supply. The government is well aware of this and the focus needs to be on development. There needs to be a commitment at federal level and also at department and city level.” 32 - May/June 2015

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