After years of talk, Montenegro’s government have finally announced the privatisation of the Bijela Shipyard in the Bay of Kotor. In a conversation with Oliver Corlette, CEO of Porto Montenegro, learned that the official tender was declared last week and Corlette revealed that at least two major European yacht producers have expressed interest. “They have been talking to the government about participating and their identity will become public as soon as they make their offer,” he told us.

Corlette expects that the process will move quickly now that the government has taken the plunge. The tender process will be conducted in two stages, with the first stage determining eligibility according to set criteria and the second phase (set to be completed by mid-April 2014), where tender applicants are able to submit proposals in line with the tender’s rules. Corlette explained that the government has been explicit in stating that one of the conditions of the tender is that the shipyard will become a dedicated superyacht refit and maintenance facility.

Bijela Shipyard

This move marks an important development in establishing Montenegro as a new superyacht hub. Bijela Shipyard was actually put up for tender five years ago but it was at a time when Porto Montenegro was fairly new and had not yet created the market for superyachts as it has now. In fact, Montenegro itself had only been independent for a short time. “There were a lot of factors which made it much riskier to potential investors at the time,” said Corlette. “Today there is wind in our sails. Europe is recognised as having come out of the worst of the financial crisis and confidence is coming back. Montenegro is also now a real yachting destination, with several high-end developments happening here right now.”

“This is a really important step in the development of the marina as a superyacht hub and nautical centre,” he told us. “It has always been our vision from the beginning to establish it as a homeport and a dedicated refit yard across the bay will enable us to offer the next level of service here. This is a very critical development for us.”

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