Closing ranks: Market experts on the dwindling number of shipyards
2018-04-18By Chris Jefferies

As our definitive Global Order Book shows, the past four years have seen a steady increase in the number of new build projects over 24 metres and yet the same period shows a gradual decline in the number of active yards — only 185 this year, down nearly 18 per cent on 2014.

This trend suggests the industry is going through a period of consolidation, as the shipyards that remain have seen an increase in the average number of projects on their order books: up from 3.2 to 4.1.

Seven is the most recent launch from Perini Navi

However, Lamberto Tacoli, president of Nautica Italiana and president and CEO of Perini Navi (pictured above), says that he expects more Italian shipyards will enter the superyacht sector in the coming years, drawing on the country’s strong domestic supply chain. “The next two years will see a general shift from maritime construction to yacht building for a number of globally recognisable brands,” he adds.

In terms of launches, only 40 to 45 per cent of active yards will complete a project in any given year and 18 per cent have had no launches in the past three years. This means that a medium-term rather than a short-term outlook is necessary to get a rounded perspective on the state of the new build market.

The Dutch market has a larger average length, leading to longer lead times and greater annual fluctuation in delivery figures

“We are used to some years being leaner in terms of deliveries, but it all depends on the pipeline,” says Jeroen Sirag, export director at the Dutch national yachting association HISWA. “The Dutch market share of the global fleet has grown from 17.7 to 21.6 per cent over the past three years and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Across the North Sea, Richard Selby, international development manager at British Marine and Superyacht UK, argues that the recent decline in the number of projects underway at British yards is offset by a rising average LOA. “Recent years have seen greater demand for yachts over 45 metres, with global growth of 4.8 per cent averaged out over the last three years. This has led to a gradual increase in the size and complexity of yachts, leaving the order book open to annual fluctuation.”

Much like the seas on which they cruise, the global superyacht market will have to remain resolute against the ebb and flow of the new-build cycle.

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