GMBA tackles six key yachting topics in Palma meetings
Global Marine Business Advisors recently tackled key issues facing the yachting industry as held its first in-person meetings since it was founded in early 2020.
GMBA (Global Marine Business Advisors) recently held its first face-to-face meetings more than two years after it was founded in February 2020, with members from around the world discussing six issues affecting the recreational marine sector including the situation in Ukraine and Russia. GMBA is a group of marine industry experts across 19 countries focused on providing a broad range of support services for businesses in the global marine sector.
Singaporean YP Loke was among GMBA members who met for the two days of meetings at the Real Club Nautico de Palma de Mallorca Yacht Club. The programme included a presentation on sustainability by Baltic Yachts CEO Anders Kurten plus visits to the Baltic Yachts refit facility and a tour of Astilleros de Mallorca by CEO Diego Colon.
The meetings focused on small business operators and the difficulties they face in planning for the future in the current environment. “It was seen as critical to the success of these businesses that they had access to factual, quality information on which to base decision making,” GMBA stated in a press release.
GMBA covered six key areas over the two days, focusing on issues facing GMBA clients. The following is from the GMBA release:
1. The situation in the Ukraine and Russia and the fallout from this situation for the marine industry, particularly the builders and the refit yards, were high on the agenda. Zoom conversations were held with Russia-based GMBA consultants who provided updates on the situation they’re facing, and a boating industry journalist from Ukraine. Exports of marine products to Russia have been all but halted and with the summer season coming, this will severely affect the operation of many businesses in Russia. One GMBA consultant suggested Russia will soon likely see mass unemployment. On the other side of the equation, those supplying this market will also be severely affected.
2. While the charter season bookings look very positive this year, there does appear to be some uncertainty in the market given the negative publicity surrounding yacht seizures, which is creating issues in the market. In Croatia, as an example, it was reported some charter contracts had been cancelled.
3. The impact of weakening economic indicators on the industry was also discussed and will continue to be closely watched. Rising inflation is seen as a big concern given the rapidly increasing global prices of fuel/energy and inputs to boat production and marina construction. Declining consumer sentiment (now at levels last seen in the 1970s), rising interest rates and perhaps worsening supply-chain issues also present risks to the recreational boating market that need to be closely watched.
4. The marine industry’s approach to sustainability continues to be a very important topic as consumers are increasingly demanding sustainability from the companies they purchase from and do business with. This is particularly important for younger generations entering their prime boat-buying years. GMBA advisors discussed creating an approach to sustainability that demystifies sustainability into an approach that businesses can use to practically address sustainability issues. This need to address sustainability is growing in urgency not just for big businesses but for all business that want to thrive in the next decade.
5. Working with marine companies on their international growth strategies has been a major focus of GMBA advisors. The GMBA network has simplified this for many marine businesses large and small who find GMBA advisors can shortcut their entry to new global markets.
6. In the main it was felt boat shows that were going ahead were doing well with high visitor traffic and sales, and that the networking component of shows was as valuable as ever. However, with order books full and limited inventory available, many boatbuilders have little to exhibit and what they have is being focused on the major international shows. Participation in international shows is still not a straightforward experience and those who were venturing to shows felt it critical to get outcomes. GMBA had assisted several companies in identifying new distributors, agents, boat builders and outlets for products. With METS being the next strategic show on the radar, GMBA is already focusing on activities there for clients.
Singapore should do more to embrace its maritime heritage, writes YP Loke of Global Marine Business Advisors.