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2021 January February Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry


SUPERYACHT FACILITIES The 43m (141ft) superyacht Playpen is one of many vessels to have been shipped by Aurora Global Logistics from the Mediterranean to GCCM. Refit yards invest as pandemic spurs boating boom Around the globe, recreational boating markets continue to experience a huge surge in demand as consumers look for creative ways to endure the pandemic closer to home. This trend has had a big impact on the industry in Australia. At leading marine transport and customs brokerage, Aurora Global Logistics, the COVID-led global boating boom has resulted in a definite increase in both export and import of luxury vessels. “Due in large to travel restrictions, COVID has presented some interesting trends within the marine industry including a definite increase in boat acquisitions as people look for leisure opportunities closer to home,” says managing director Jason Roberts. “We have also seen a significant increase in vessels being moved back to Australia for refit/repair or private leisure as owners are unable to travel to use their vessels for personal or commercial charter use.” “We are currently importing around 30 superyachts over 26m (85ft) in length into Australia each year, between 120 and 150 smaller yachts from the UK, USA and Asia and it’s looking like our business is up over 15% on imports and exports this year [2020],” he adds. “What’s interesting and notable is that the reasons for these movements are very different to what they have been in previous years and we believe that COVID is driving that changing trend.” According to Roberts, Australians are buying yachts offshore in larger volumes than in recent years arguably because their travel has been restricted so they have looked to a boating acquisition to fulfil leisure requirements. L to r: Jason Roberts, Aurora Global Logistics; Steve Fisher, Rivergate Marina & Shipyard; and Trenton Gay, Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard. “Queensland is also being seen globally as a safe haven – where owners can safely have major refit and repair work undertaken to their vessels in world class shipyards at an attractive Australian dollar exchange rate. It makes a lot of sense to take care of this work while charter and cruising activity is hampered by travel restrictions,” he notes. “Also exciting for the domestic marine industry is the volume of Australian vessels that we are exporting offshore as the demand for Australian made boats rapidly increases.” Roberts’ observations are strongly echoed and supported by other Australian marine heavyweights including Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM) and Rivergate Marina & Shipyard. GCCM CEO, Trenton Gay, says around the globe, the marine brokerage industry is experiencing a surge in demand for boats as people respond to COVID travel restrictions and seek out new recreational opportunities. Some owners of larger vessels, meanwhile, are also using the current downturn in charter and cruising activity to advance major refit and repair projects. “Like Aurora, we are noticing very similar industry patterns. Most of our local brokerage clients are reporting an upsurge in boat sales, yacht leads and web traffic despite, or perhaps as a result of, the pandemic,” he confirms. “Our shipyard has seen a lot of new vessel acquisitions in addition to an – January/February 2021 21

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