NEWS — Superyachts are key to Kiwi marine industry recovery

NEWS - Superyachts are key to Kiwi marine industry recovery

The NZ Marine Industry (NZMI) is planning to grow the size of the New Zealand marine industry by an ambitious 55 per cent over the next five years.

NZMI expects the industry to grow from $NZ1.71 billion this year to $NZ2.66 billion in 2015. Marine industry exports are expected to grow by around 55 per cent over that period, from $NZ0.72 billion to $NZ1.11 billion.

“This is not only good news for our industry and our members,” says NZMI executive director, Peter Busfield, “it also represents a very significant growth in our contribution to the NZ economy.”

While the industry’s targets are ambitious they are also claimed to be realistic, based on a recovering market for large superyachts, new infrastructure in key ports around the country and several bold new initiatives, including promotions during next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The large number of baby boomer retirees is also expected to have a strong and positive influence on the increase in recreational boating, both nationally and internationally.

While some sectors of the world economy still appear sluggish, high-ticket items such as superyachts appear to be bouncing back strongly.

For example, in the 14 months to September last year, industry pundits said local boatbuilders did not manage to secure a single order for a new superyacht. In the last 11 months, they have signed 10, worth an estimated half-a-billion dollars.

“There has also been a pronounced pick-up in the numbers of large pleasureboats coming here to undergo lucrative refits,” says Busfield. “Importantly, vital infrastructure is now either complete or under construction, meaning we are very well poised to take advantage of the recovering world economy.”

A good example of this lies just a nautical mile or so away from NZ Marine’s Auckland headquarters where Athena, one of the world’s largest aluminium pleasureboats, is moored on one of two new 90m superyacht berths at the entrance to Westhaven marina.

Other key developments are also underway at Wynyard Point, Hobsonville and Gulf Harbour in Auckland and at Whangarei, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wellington, Marlborough, Nelson and Lyttleton.

With the help of partners such as NZ Trade and Enterprise, NZ Marine Export Group said it is also planning an aggressive marketing campaign in key international markets.

This includes high-profile attendances at major international boat shows such as Fort Lauderdale, Monaco and METS and the wide distribution of the latest edition of the New Zealand Marine Export Guide.

It is expected that together, these will highlight the benefits of having boats built or refurbished in NZ and showcase the world-class cruising destinations such as the Bay of Islands, the Hauraki Gulf, Marlborough Sounds, Golden Bay and Fiordland.

Another key initiative in this campaign is NZMI’s new Destination E Book, a comprehensive digital guide that is literally a one-stop-shop for any vessel planning to visit NZ.

The electronic guide, which will be widely promoted overseas and online, provides visiting yacht owners, skippers, guests and crew with everything they need to know about arriving in NZ. Topics covered include Customs, Immigration and Bio-Security, Maritime New Zealand and Harbourmaster’s requirements and information about and links to marinas, mooring facilities, refit yards and tourism opportunities.

“The fast-growing refit sector has also been pro-active in this area, recently releasing a new detailed Code of Practice designed to further enhance the sector’s already impressive reputation,” said NZMI.

Although superyacht new-build and refits are expected to contribute significantly to the industry’s target of $NZ2.7 billion per annum by 2015, they are by no means the only sectors of the marine industry forecast to grow strongly in the next five years.

For example, marine equipment sales feature predominately in the forecast and are expected to reach around $NZ600 million per annum by 2015 and top more than $NZ700 million by 2020. Launches, yachts, power trailerboats and other marine services are also forecast to enjoy substantial growth over this period.

NZMI said it has also been working hard to maximise the high potential exposure offered by next year’s Rugby World Cup. With around 3000 international journalists expected to attend, NZMI said it has worked closely with the Government and RWC2011 organisers to ensure maximum leverage during the event.

This has meant moving the 2011 Auckland International Boat Show in Viaduct Harbour to September, so that it is run over the same weekend as the key Australia-Ireland game.

During the show, journalists and key international visitors will also be offered the chance to visit leading boat yards and be able to watch an International Boat Building Competition showcasing the skills of NZ’s young boatbuilders.

A special international forum for superyacht captains will also be held at this time.

In addition, NZMI representatives recently made a detailed presentation to Australian marine journalists and industry leaders in Sydney, with many expressing strong interest in visiting here next September.

Recognising that one of the keys to a successful marine industry is the skill of its employees, NZMI said the high-performing NZ Marine Industry Training Organisation (NZ Marine ITO) is again breaking new ground by introducing its new
online Learning Management System, RudderLive.

RudderLive is an advanced online LMS that allows apprentices and trainees to study when, how and where they like, simply by accessing the website.

Full of features designed to appeal to apprentices and younger trainees — such as 3D modelling, embedded videos, E-lectures (video clips from night school) and self-marking quizzes and case studies — RudderLive is a flexible custom-build system. It gives those using it greater control over their learning, enabling them to download the study notes and assessments they need when they need them and encouraging greater engagement in the learning process.

Recognising that a strong internationally-focused industry needs an equally strong domestic base from which to develop, NZMI said it is also aggressively promoting boating in NZ. The main vehicle through which it is doing this is its new Discover Boating programme and, in particular, the informative and interactive website:

Busfield says the combination of an improving international economy, a better focused and stronger performing marine industry in NZ, vital new infrastructure and better trained, more enthusiastic craftspeople is a fantastic combination. “We believe it is the perfect recipe for the successful expansion of our industry; and our industry’s ability to continue to make a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy,” he said.