Prime superyacht berthing at a premium
With the potential of a capacity crisis in the marina berthing market, Martin Redmayne examines the outlook for tomorrow's fleet…
Having analysed the current order book and talked to the various sales directors at the major new build yards, it seems that there are no signs of slowing down in the 50m plus market, with brokers, designers and owner’s reps all asking for build slots and checking availability of new orders in progress.
Between now and the end of 2030, at the current rate of new build activity, we may see over 300 new deliveries above 50m, with over 30% in the 60m plus category. Yet when you consider the current expansion plans of our market’s infrastructure, it’s difficult to see how the marina network is going to be able to accommodate the new fleet and provide the right number of berths in the right places all at the same key demand times in the future.
Source: The Superyacht Agency
The sweet spot of 50m and 90m+ superyachts
In the sweet spot of 50m and 90m+ superyachts, we’re expecting marina berths in the primary cruising hot spots to operate at a premium. Having discussed the matter with Gili Wojnowich, Vice President of Operations and Yacht Services at IGY Marinas, it seems that the new build delivery programme will add more pressure in the coming months and years.
Yes, new marinas are being discussed and planned across the Mediterranean, but they take time and need to cater for a wider cross-section of the fleet, to balance the berth mix and meet the local community needs. Reconfigurations have taken shape in some key marinas, but the migratory nature of the larger yachts means that some berths are unoccupied in niche locations for periods.
So, with a migration pattern that still includes the traditional hubs of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean it’s going to be interesting to observe how the Captains manage their demand for infrastructure, especially the busy charter yachts that need good bases for guest activities and operational services.
IGY Portisco Marina
Demand is outstripping supply
“After speaking with both our Caribbean and European directors, I can confirm that there are certainly multiple weeks during each respective high season that berths for 50m+ vessels are simply unavailable due to high demand and inventory constraints. There are key facilities in cruising hot spots around Porto Cervo and the US Virgin Islands, that commonly experience a shortage of available 50m+ berths” explains Wojnowich.
Therefore, it is apparent that even today, the demand is outstripping supply and as more and more tonnage comes online and we see each week, new orders being signed for the superyachts in the 50, 60 and 70m plus categories, the problem will escalate.
This may drive yachts into new locations like the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, but these cruising grounds are a few years away, in terms of infrastructure and regulatory framework. However, the current owner and charter market is still heavily focused on the popularity of the myriad islands in the Caribbean and the traditional pattern of the Spanish Costa’s and the Rivieras, both French and Italian, all the way down to Corsica and Sardinia.
Wojnowich goes on to explain, “Having spoken with numerous captains, brokers and others in the operational sector, everyone is starting to acknowledge that the impressive new-build orders and lead time on large yacht launches, including many over 80m, will have an impact on the marina infrastructure. Still, some are surprised to learn, or are not as instinctually in tune with the global berth availability, and we all wonder where these yachts are going to go once operational.”
IGY Marinas and no doubt others in the marina sector are trying to plan for the future log jam, but building and developing new marinas takes time, with regulations, approvals and potentially, local opposition from the have-nots towards the have-yachts.
IGY Vieux-Port de Cannes
A berthing premium phase
So, it is easy to see that large yacht berths will enter a premium phase, as demand increases and it seems that in the past 12 months, IGY Marinas have been stealthily creating models and concepts to make sure the smart owners can capitalise on their network of over 310 berths over 50m in their global network. With over 120 50m plus berths in the Caribbean and approximately 108 50m plus berths in the Western Mediterranean, they are well positioned to support their clients, with additional plans for expansion into new territories, including the Red Sea.
The dilemma that the larger fleet is facing
“The management team at IGY have been studying the migration patterns, and the order book and understands the dilemma that the larger fleet is facing, and as a result, we launched last year, our new major cornerstone and value proposition for the IGY Trident Club,” explains Wojnowich. “This business model is gaining traction and new clients, owners and captains, even those taking delivery of brand-new yachts have joined our Trident Collective. Appreciating the potential problem, but recognising the value and certainty our model delivers.”
In very simple terms, for a fixed annual fee, the owner and captain are guaranteed a premium berth at all of the IGY Marina network, across Latin America, the US East Coat, the Caribbean and the Western Mediterranean, with more marina berths on the IGY horizon. However, as a Trident Collective member, of which there will only be 30 exclusive members, you also get a 25% discount on your dockage, where ever you stay, plus a variety of other benefits and discounts.
It is hard to understand why it hasn’t been done before
It would seem that as the new build delivery programme accelerates in the coming years, with more orders to follow, based on current demand, this membership programme is not only intelligent, but it is designed to give owners confidence that their yacht will get a berth in the height of the season, but also provide the same level of certainty for the captain if they are actively chartering on a dual season. It sounds so simple and makes so much sense, it’s hard to understand why it hasn’t been done before.
For more information on the expanding IGY network, the value proposition for the IGY Trident Club and Trident Collective, and the role it will play in the future of berthing in the Mediterranean and beyond, please click here.
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