THE ANZAC SPIRIT LIVES ON DOWN UNDER
The key leaders of Australian and NZ’s marine sectors talk to MaryAnne Edwards GMBA consultant about current issues
Dec 2020 – Part 3
Maryanne asked both Peter and David about their membership and staffing levels since covid, given membership levels and revenue have dropped substantially in some overseas countries. It also surprised many in the industry to see the level of redundancies made by the NMMA a significant USA marine industry association.
David responded; “I am pleased to report we have not had to make any of our team redundant. AIMEX membership however has declined slightly mainly due to the fact a key benefit of membership was the ability to participate in the Australian pavilion at key trade shows and AIMEX has always had a strong itinerary of shows members supported. With the inability to travel some members have put their membership on hold waiting for international travel to resume. However membership in our superyacht sector has increased by 10%. I attribute this mainly to the work we have done regarding lobbying for exemptions in this sector which as stated earlier has been a boost for the industry. We are also looking to add Boot Dusseldorf to our boat show schedule should this go ahead in April and Australians are permitted to travel.”
Peter Busfield responded; “Since May this year our membership is up 5% to 500 member companies. This is mainly due to existing members appreciation for our assistance and communications with members through the difficult months of March to June. We assisted members with Covid Health and Safety plans in accordance with Government rules, negotiated with the NZ Government to be allowed to go boating in some of our covid restriction periods and of course the exemptions to allow visiting yachts entry for refit/repairs and being allowed to stay in NZ was a boost for the industry”.
KEY ISSUES MOVING FORWARD
Maryanne asked Peter and David what they see as the key issues facing the Australian industry both the Superyacht and Export sectors.
David Good responded; “For Superyacht Australia it is definitely the consistent application of rules by government departments. It is the biggest issue and will remain so for a long time. For our exporters it is stability in logistics, foreign exchange rates and global demand. Many countries due to more covid 19 outbreaks are currently looking at further lockdowns.”
Peter Busfield responded; “From the superyacht perspective we have a concern that people in the Northern Hemisphere may not be planning to sail their yacht to the South Pacific in 2021 and as such countries such as Tahiti, Fiji, Australia and NZ will suffer from a reduction in this business in 2021/22. From our exporters perspective the exporting of NZ made equipment is getting more challenging with freight delays and increased costs of freight.”
Maryanne asked Peter and David re the level of investment into the industry currently.
David Good responded; “There is a lot of investment happening here into refit yards and boat building facilities however this growth is mainly occurring in Queensland where we have a supportive state government.
Peter Busfield response; “NZ has seen an increase in refit yards /haul out facilities for large vessels such as the new Orams 820 ton travel lift and yard opening their operations in January/February 2021 in downtown Auckland. There have also been recent expansion of facilities in Bay of Islands, Whangarei, Tauranga and Picton. In a normal year and particularly prior to the America’s Cup these facilities would be extremely busy. It is however pleasing to be able to say that during covid they have still had sufficient work to be doing satisfactory business.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE KEY ROLE FOR YOUR ASSOCIATION MOVING FORWARD.
David Good response; “ The key role is to provide value for the members, continuing to lobbying government on issues affecting the industry and mentoring of new members is high on our agenda.”
Peter Busfield responded; “Adding value to member companies that exceeds the membership fees is of number one importance. Many members see the most value coming from their MIA maintaining/growing the profile of the marine industry in the eyes of stakeholders, i.e. local and central government, the general public and the boating fraternity. This translates to effective representation and strong promotion and profile through the media. In addition to this Peter felt it was very important to work closely with the individual marine industry specialised sectors to ensure we understand the challenges and opportunities of members at the ‘coal face’.
The last 8 months have been trying in many ways with the global marine industry coming to grips with surviving the covid 19 pandemic and working within the restrictions this has imposed. The very issue of distance and isolation from key markets which has made NZ and Australia so resilient over the years has also been the catalyst for their emergence from the covid pandemic, in tact and ready to meet the demands of their global and domestic markets. The ANZAC spirit has prevailed with NZ and Australia basically now without any covid 19 community transmission. The marine industry in both countries has remained vibrant and the surge in boat sales and superyachts looking for a safe haven is definitely supporting the refit yards and the extensive marine industry supply chain. Restrictions on boating have been removed and the industry looks forward to a very busy summer period as everyone gets out on the water. With no international travel on the horizon for many months the keen interest in chartering and boating is set to continue. Congratulations must go to both AIMEX and New Zealand Marine who have been proactive and effective in their communications with members and their lobbying to government on members behalf. We are all now looking forward to the America’s Cup and open travel between the two countries which looks set for early next year. If the NZ /Australia bubble commences early in 2021 we may yet see a strong spectator base for the Americas cup and an exciting development is that vessels will be able to move freely between the 2 countries once this travel bubble opens.
Global Marine Business Advisors is a group of marine industry experts, located in fifteen countries. The group is focused on providing a broad range of support services for businesses in the global marine sector.
The consultants currently reside in the UK, France, Finland, Holland, Singapore, Australia, Dubai, Spain, Russia, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, Poland, Sweden and the USA. Their combined expertise and experience is second to none and with their extensive networks are supporting marine businesses across the globe to drive growth and success in this current environment.