Palmer Johnson announces it will build at Holland Jachtbouw
by Risa Merl
Just weeks after Palmer Johnson announced it was closing its doors in the US to move its operations to Europe, the superyacht builder has now put out an official statement revealing it will be taking over the Holland Jachtbouw (HJB) facility in The Netherlands.
In early September, Palmer Johnson said it was closing its Wisconsin shipyard in Sturgeon Bay, affecting 100 jobs. The builder said a core team of Palmer Johnson employees will be transferred to Europe to maintain the builder’s operations, including moving the construction of its popular line of aluminium SportYachts to The Netherlands, which has now been revealed as HJB.
Palmer Johnson said it will be "taking over the Holland Jachtbouw facility" and manufacturing its carbon and aluminium series of yachts here.
HJB told Boat International that it was unable to provide a comment at this time. However, Boat International expects to understand more about what this new arrangement actually means for both HJB and Palmer Johnson later this week.
When it confirmed the closure of its US yard in an official statement, Palmer Johnson said it made a strategic decision to move its building operations to Europe where it will focus on its new carbon composite SuperSport series of yachts, like the all-carbon Khalilah, which was launched last year.
The luxury yacht builder reports it has had a strong interest in the SuperSport range and finds it competitively advantageous to build in Europe. It announced that Hull No 2 of the PJ48 SuperSport, in build in Norway, would be transferred to an undisclosed yard in The Netherlands. This yard has now been announced to be HJB. PJ48M Hull 2 will followed by a third hull arriving in April 2016. The company is also manufacturing moulds for the Palmer Johnson 42 metre SuperSport – the first hull is ordered and will be delivered in 2017.
The new statement from PJ has gone into further detail, explaining that while the US is the most important market in terms of buyers, there is a limited supplier and subcontractor network, which makes building in Europe more viable.
"PJ was procuring up to 90 per cent of materials and subcontractor services from overseas in a strong dollar environment, which erodes its competitiveness against the European builders," Palmer Johnson said.
The company confirms that the closure of its Sturgeon Bay facility will coincide with the completion of hull No 3 of the PJ 170 SportYacht, which is currently under construction.
Unlike fellow US yacht builder Christensen, which closed its doors without warning only to be sold to its co-owner months later, Palmer Johnson has given its employees a 60-day notice of its plans to close the US yard. The local Bay Area Workforce Development Board is already assisting Palmer Johnson employees to find new positions.
As Palmer Johnson consolidates its operations in Europe, US yacht building loses one of its biggest shipyards. US builder Trinity Yachts acquired by Harvey Gulf International in June, and the fate of its superyacht building operations is yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, in some positive activity for US boatbuilding, Taiwanese builder Ocean Alexander has announced it will start building its OA70E in Florida.