MONACO _ Everyone gets into the act. Italy’s Amico & Co., Balk Shipyard of the Netherlands and France’s La Ciotat Shipyards are just 3 yards beefing up refit capabilities. Refits are good and necessary business. They create a bond between yard and owner. They protect the resale value of yachts.
In the last 30 or so years, Dutch yards have become global leaders in high-end superyacht manufacture. Today, the average value of a Dutch-made superyacht hovers around €57 million.
But the core business of cranking out yachts has saddled the sector with something of a headache. The yachts the Dutch make disappear over the horizon and don’t come back. For most Dutch yards, the refit business has gone south. La Ciotat Shipyards alone accounts for 10% of global refit business. The Dutch are increasingly pains to claw back some of that business.
At the 2018 Monaco Yacht show, the HISWA Holland Yachting Group _ the Dutch superyacht trade lobby _ joined forces with the Port of Amsterdam to make the Dutch capital a superyacht destination, replete with new build and refit facilities.
“Shipbuilding is in our DNA,” says Alma Prins, Port of Amsterdam’s Commercial Director Superyachts. “We want to build a superyacht hub with builders and suppliers in Amsterdam.” A superyacht yard can generate up to 400 jobs. The Port of Amsterdam, says HHYG Export Director Jeroen Sirag, has world-class facilities to stimulate “our industry, especially the refit sector.” Feadship will open a yard _ its 4th _ in the Port of Amsterdam in early 2019. Negotiations have begun with a 2nd Dutch builder.
The aim is to offer Dutch builders and suppliers space for new-build, repair and refit jobs. Or to simply park almost-finished yachts. Sirag also pushes the idea of creating a northern European superyacht route linking Amsterdam to such cities as London, Oslo, Bergen and Stockholm. The idea responds to the emergence of younger, more adventurous owners who don’t get a buzz from Mediterranean or Caribbean cocktail circuits.
Balk Shipyard, the leading Dutch refit yard, has announced an ambitious expansion project that will triple its capacity for refits and double its turnover. “Refits was once almost a dirty word in the Dutch superyacht industry,” says Balk shipyard CEO Daan Balk. “These days, everybody is busy building new yards for refit business.”