ASMEX 2021 Highlights Strength, Resilience & Growth
The 2021 Australian Superyacht, Marine Export and Commercial Industry (ASMEX) Conference was held this week at Sanctuary Cove, with a diverse and dynamic cross section of speakers and session topics on the Australian marine industry. Key figures of the superyacht industry were in attendance, and the conference highlighted the industry’s strength and resilience over the last year, with promising signs for future growth.
The superyacht industry was well-represented at the conference, now in its 10th year, and topics ranged from economic recovery and growth in exports to electrification and the process of importing a superyacht.
David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia, closed the conference with a detailed report of the last year of superyacht activity in the country. Despite the challenges faced, foreign-flagged superyachts stayed 75% longer in Australia during 2020 in comparison to the previous year. Australia has been seen as a safe hub for superyachts, with world-class infrastructure to accommodate them during a limited cruising season. This is reflected in the economic impact of superyachts in Australia, contributing $100M – a 58% increase on the $63M brought in during 2019.
A further 300% increase in visitation is expected over the coming three years as Australia braces to finally reap the full rewards of the December 2019 charter legislation change, which opened the country up to charter for foreign-flagged vessels.
Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reef and the refit capitals of Brisbane and Gold Coast, received the highest number of visiting superyachts along with the longest duration of stay, generating an 84% increase compared to the previous year. “The Queensland state government has supported the industry through their Superyacht Development Strategy,” said David Good, Superyacht Australia CEO. “The state government established a fund that helped Queensland businesses attend overseas events and for shipyards to meet international compliance standards required for this high level of work.
“This type of government support has certainly paid off in visitation and encouraged significant private investment in the refit and maintenance industry in Queensland, which in turn means substantial jobs for marine trades.” These investments include a significant expansion of renowned refit facility Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, announced in October 2020. Tom Hill, Director of Rivergate, spoke to Superyachts.com last February about why he feel the expansion was perfectly timed.
Strong sales and positive business results were common themes during the 2021 ASMEX Conference, as businesses benefitted from an increased demand for recreational vessels and accessories. An Export Panel demonstrated a shared bounce-back experience, with Director of Aqualuma, Grant Amor, sharing his belief that there is a growing appreciation of Australian-made products on the market.
Australia’s leading superyacht manufacturers shared an insight into ongoings at Fremantle’s Australian Marine Complex (AMC). Chris Blackwell of Echo Yachts and Sander Toonen of Silver Yachts gave a run-down of their exciting upcoming projects, with a 56m catamaran superyacht in construction at Echo and Silver working on an 85.4m successor to Bold. Both leading shipyards will also benefit from a new $20M superyacht facility at the AMC.
Martin Baum, Managing Director of Pantaenius Yacht Group presented an update on the superyacht industry in Europe having another record year. Covering the high demand for new builds keeping shipyards busy, Baum noted that local charter had been harder hit possibly as charterers were moving to become owners to enjoy the individuality and privacy of having access to their own vessel year-round.
“I found the conference to be both uplifting and informative,” shared Mark Stothard, CEO of Echo Marine Group. “and after hearing from various sectors in the industry, it is evident that the industry is in very good shape and the outlook is also looking positive.”
The Conference was shortly followed by the Australian Marine Industry Awards Gala Dinner, where Whitsunday-based Coral Sea Marina Resort won Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year. Gold Coast-based Superior Jetties claimed the 2021 Superyacht Industry Project/Design or Manufacturer of the Year. Superior Jetties has been behind the design and construction of a new 163m superyacht berth at Southport Yacht Club.
"I found the conference to be both uplifting and informative."