The recent acquisition of Dockwise, from Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V for a sum of $40 million, was undertaken in order to attain the company’s complementary expertise. This includes two semi-submersible vessels that facilitate the transportation of larger vessels than Sevenstar’s own lifting capabilities allow. “We’re enlarging our LOA capabilities”, Boissevain explained. “In the past we have been limited by our lifting restrictions but we now have two semi-submersibles that allow us to load vessels up to 65 metres.”
“Both companies will continue doing what they’re doing”, he said, “but they are now able to support each other’s [service provision].” But when quizzed on the limitations of yacht transport, in the context of ever-larger ‘freight’ Boissevain said he remained confident that it would retain its appeal among owners. “It’s a lot cheaper than doing it yourself and having to cover the cost of crew and fuel.”
But the case remains that there are growing list of yachts that are too large to be transported by carriers, and this incremental increase has been set against a backdrop of falling transport numbers over the last four years. The market though, “has remained very stable throughout the crisis”. This is largely because yacht transport is a demand driven business that follows the clients, wherever they may be. This has led Boissevain to collect yachts from, or deliver to places as far-flung as Benin, Ecuador, Rwanda and Vladivostok.
And from the perspective of someone operating in a stable market, it baffles Boissevain that the superyacht industry is not following the transport sector’s lead and taking their sales pitch to these remote corners. “If you go to Vietnam or Vladivostok and sell the experience to these guys they will buy yachts, but [the industry] is just not seizing the opportunity”, he said.