Marina management company Ocibar recently finalised the acquisition of Port Tarraco from the Qatari Diar Fund. After a long search for a new opportunity to utilise its knowledge in large yacht marina development, Ocibar has now incorporated the Tarragona superyacht marina into its existing portfolio, which includes Port Adriano in Mallorca and Marina Botafoc in Ibiza.

“Since 2014, we have been looking for something else to do,” explains Antonio Zaforteza, CEO of Ocibar, speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews. “It hasn’t been easy because it is a small market and, with many of the sites that we looked at, we either felt that we couldn’t add value or the pricing was not right.”

Over this time, Ocibar entered into various tenders for marinas around the Mediterranean, including participating in the tender for Port Vauban in Antibes. After considering Port Tarraco for over a year, the process eventually matured and the purchase was finalised in February 2020.

“We think that Port Tarraco is a marina with which we can add value to our current portfolio,” continues Zaforteza. “In terms of the quality of the infrastructure, it matches what we are offering in Port Adriano, and it expands what we can offer with our product range, both in terms of the size of yachts the marina can accommodate and the level of pricing. Also, there are synergies with the way that we market our existing marinas. So, it is a good fit in this sense.”

“In terms of the quality of the infrastructure, it matches what we are offering in Port Adriano, and it expands what we can offer with our product range, both in terms of the size of yachts the marina can accommodate and the level of pricing.”

Port Tarraco is less than an hour’s drive from Barcelona and is a customs port of entry. The marina offers 33 berths between 45 and 160m, having recently completed an overhaul of its layout that decreased the number of berths but increased berth sizes, making it one of the few marinas in Spain that can berth several 100m-plus yachts.

The change of ownership has also opened the marina up to a bigger part of the market. With Port Tarraco formerly owned by the Qatari Diar Fund, it meant that some yachts, depending on their ownership structures, were previously unable to use the marina due to economic sanctions in relation to Qatar. 

Other than some minor investments into increasing shore power capacity, Ocibar has no major plans for any redevelopment of the marina or changes to the management structure. “But we do have a long-term plan to increase the industry’s awareness of Tarragona as a very good service point for yachts,” adds Zaforteza. “With the proximity to Barcelona, there are a lot of suppliers that can work in both places and there is a nearby shipyard that has been growing in the shadow of Port Tarraco. There is also a big local chemical industry, which means there are a lot of supplies that can be adapted for yachts – we just need to link it together.”

Zaforteza plans to bring the Port Tarraco brand in line with that of Ocibar’s other marinas, hoping to put the spotlight on a marina that has sometimes been missed off the main superyacht circuit. When the marina was first developed in 2007, some yachts initially had complaints with the active coal industry in the port, and the association has stuck in some people’s minds, so Zaforteza also wants to reassure clients that this is no longer a problem.

As for the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on the Spanish marina sector, Zaforteza admits that it has been a challenging period. “It is not good for anyone to see yachts stuck in marinas, because people buy boats to cruise and enjoy them,” he points out. “At some point during the lockdown there were restrictions around yachts entering certain ports in Spain, but we were able to work with the authorities and establish protocols to let yachts coming from the Caribbean into our marinas.

“Now that the de-escalation plan is in motion, we are really looking forward to the opening of the yachting industry in Spain. But the country needs to open the borders so that owners and charter clients can come and use their yachts. We believe that the nautical industry, especially superyacht industry, is one of the first activities that should be allowed because it provides maximum economic impact with minimal health and safety risk.”

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