The changing landscape of new-build and charter brokerage
C&N CEO Paolo Casani on the company's role within the new-build market and the current situation for charters…
Having established a dedicated new-build division over three years ago, Camper and Nicholsons’ key aim was to approach the market segment with a different mentality – one in which the company plays a vital role in the ownership journey and bringing the project to fruition.
“What I say to my team every day is that it is important we reinforce the reason for our existence in the new-build chain,” comments Paolo Casani, CEO of Camper and Nicholsons. “Otherwise why should clients come to us or another brokerage company and pay us to buy a new-construction project? It would be possible for them to go straight to the shipyards – which nowadays have their own commercial departments – so we need to ensure that we add value to the process.”
Casani believes that today’s new-build marketplace requires brokerage houses to have an increasing number of capabilities in order to succeed. “It’s no longer enough for us to just find a buyer and introduce them to the shipyard, which is the traditional brokerage role,” he adds. “We have to strategise for the buyer, help them to decide on a certain specification, and follow the tender process and negotiations with the shipyards and designers.”
“It’s no longer enough for us to just find a buyer and introduce them to the shipyard, which is the traditional brokerage role...”
In order to be able to provide new-build clients with the best advice possible throughout the build process, Camper and Nicholsons has organised its new-build division to cover a wider range of fields, including engineers, legal advisors and tax experts. Additionally, in-house project managers can supervise the more technical aspects of a project.
“Most superyachts are being built in Europe, but our clients come from all over the world – mostly from the United States, but also Asia and central and south America – so it is even more important for these clients to have someone regularly onsite representing their interests,” explains Casani. “The commission is then the last part of the deal and is the consequence of us doing our job properly. I think the industry will see more brokerage houses heading in this direction in the future.”
As for the charter market, in normal times this accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Camper and Nicholson's revenue. However, charter has been the sector of the superyacht industry most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have been obliged to cancel and postpone a lot of bookings from last year due to the travel restrictions and, in our opinion, the situation will continue to be difficult for charter for the first half of 2021,” reflects Casani.
While some charters have still been able to go ahead over this time, with the company proactively organising private transportation and fulfilling bureaucratic requirements for guests, Casani remains skeptical for the near future; “Around 70 per cent of our charters take place in the Mediterranean, in countries that are some of the most-affected areas in the pandemic. So our forecast for 2021 regarding charter is still very clouded. Whether it picks up again in the second half of the year very much depends on how successful the vaccines are.”
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