The word business brings to mind a whole raft of negative implications as it is often associated with aggression, a lack of empathy and an insatiable desire for profit. In reality however, operating an effective business model allows companies to become profitable and reinvest in areas that will, at the end of the day, improve the product or service for the client. We speak to Paul Cook, general manager of OneOcean Port Vell, about how an effective business plan is for the betterment of clients and communities.
“OneOcean Port Vell is owned by the Salamanca Group and it’s a very forward thinking company,” begins Cook. “Salamanca didn’t want to simply invest money and build something that has been done before, it wanted to invent something from lessons learned, not reinvent.”
Owners, more so than most individuals, understand the value of a product or service and, where possible, are more than prepared to pay for quality. OneOcean is by no means the cheapest marina, but what its price reflects is an effective business model and a reliable service.
“You can go to much cheaper places if you want. I can tell you places where you can berth for free, but there is always a drawback,” continues Cook. “If you want to be in a marina that is three hours from civilisation and where your vessel will get thrown around by the first southerly wind that passes through, then you will soon find that you are paying for damages and possibly looking for new crew.”
A significant facet of OneOcean’s business plan has been to maximise the space at its disposal. Within the marina’s grounds are various yachting businesses that cover insurance, agency, crewing, support, outfitting and more. As well as being of benefit to the superyachts that berth at OneOcean, the business hub provides another significant revenue stream that allows OneOcean to offset costs against additional services that they can provide free of charge.
In 2015 OneOcean announced that it had been granted a permit to offer a Temporary Importation tax benefit scheme to no-EU owned, non-EU flagged vessels entering the marina. The scheme allows some superyachts to conduct minor refit works on site and benefit from VAT exemption.
“We are a clean marina so you can’t tent an entire vessel and conduct a full refit, but you can complete interior work, deck maintenance and engineering works,” explains Cook. “What used to really annoy me as a captain was going in for maintenance work, arranging the subcontractors myself and having the yard add a 15 to 20 per cent charge on top for the privilege on conducting works. We don’t charge anything for subcontractors.”
However, the proof is in the pudding. Cook reveals that for the year ending 31 December, 2015, OneOcean estimates that, through the various businesses on site and the visiting yachts, it contributed around €750 million to Barcelona’s local economy. Additionally, in 2016 OneOcean has benefitted from a 500 per cent increase in yachts over 90m visiting, a 140 per cent increase for yachts in the 70-80m bracket and a total of 500 more visitation days. Business is not a dirty word when done with passion and integrity; an effective plan drives commerce and benefits all involved, be it the supplier, the consumer or the economy.