Superyacht sector survives COVID, but Ukraine war leaves a scar

ROTTERDAM – The Dutch superyacht sector is a recession-proof one that emerged from the COVID pandemic with flying colors and stellar sales. However, the Ukraine war has left a nasty dent. Holland Yachting Group reports that its members – six superyacht builders and two dozen suppliers – sold 21 yachts last year, valued at €1.3 billion. In 2020, their output was 16 yachts, valued at €850 million.

The trade group said that in 2021 the “order intake was again good. The positive balance between order intake and the number of completions again resulted in an order book increase.”

No fewer than 24 orders were placed with an estimated total value of €1.8 billion. At the end of 2021, the order books of the HYG superyacht builders stretched to 61 yachts, valued at €5.9 billion.

HYG is part of Netherlands Maritime Technology, a Rotterdam-based association of 400+ shipyards, marine equipment suppliers, and service providers. The 2021 superyacht data was contained in the NMT annual report.

In all, there are almost a dozen superyacht builders in the Netherlands. The non-HYG builders also reported stellar sales in 2021.

Amsterdam-based SuperYachtTimes, a site that tracks the global large-yacht market, says in its annual State of Yachting report “that 2021 has been the best year ever for the superyacht industry.” However, it adds, “With a war in Ukraine, supply chain challenges, long delivery times at shipyards, limited availability of good brokerage yachts, and a slowdown on the global stock markets, we are doubtful the market can keep up this momentum.”

The Ukraine war threatens the refit market. “Russian owners will be reluctant to put their yachts into a Western refit yard” and risk losing their yachts and getting stuck in payment issues, SuperYachtTimes reports. The yachts built by HYG members in 2021 ranged from 24 to 125 meters. Their order books at the end of the year contained as many as 16 vessels of around 80m or more extensive.

Not included in the 21 yachts sold were nine – total value of €350 million – that were being built on spec in late 2021. “These projects will not be visible in the figures until they have been sold,” said HYG.