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Transport figures show boat exports buoyant

by Jeni Bone 23 Oct 2019 06:52 PDT
Aus-made motor yachts on Aurora transport to the US from the Port of Brisbane © Aurora Global Logistics

Brisbane-based Aurora Global Logistics reports a healthy summer forecast for Australian boat manufacturers exporting to the US and Europe, driven by an appetite for Australian quality, ingenuity and value, thanks to the extremely competitive Australian dollar.

"In the past six months, we transported approximately 90 Australian-made boats, both privately owned motor yachts, sailing yachts and racing vessels ranging from 25ft to 100ft," explains Jason Roberts, Director at Aurora Global Logistics.

"We have ships going to the US, the Mediterranean, New Zealand and Asia," he continues. "The total retail value is hard to ascertain, but they are priced from US$100,000 through to US$8 million."

Next week, Aurora will fly the Aussie flag at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 30 to November 3. 'FLIBS', as it's known, is the world's largest yacht show, boasting more than 1,200 exhibitors and around 1,500 boats on display. The event spans seven locations and attracts in excess of 110,000 visitors.

"We meet with the US dealers buying boats from Australia and we promote Australia to owners and charter Captains. Part of our business is assisting owners with the importation and clearance through Customs of superyachts into Australia. We're also licensed Customs Brokers and members of the peak industry body, Superyacht Australia."

For the past decade, Aurora has been transporting Australian-made pleasure craft to the world, and in that time, they have observed the rise and fall of the Aussie dollar, which impacts on the sale of Australian-made vessels.

"At the moment, the Australian dollar is highly competitive and Australian brands are doing very well overseas. Many of them export up to 60% of their production.

"For us, transportation of yachts out of Australia has almost doubled over the past two years, and the importation of superyachts and larger cruising vessels has significantly increased as well."

Over the past 12 months, Aurora has imported 150 yachts ranging from 20ft to 120ft from the Mediterranean, Asia and the US, some new vessels bought by Australian owners, others shipped to Australia by their foreign owners to cruise our pristine coastal waters and The Whitsundays.

"Over the past few years there has been a steep rise in the number of yachts and the size of the vessels coming to Australia," says Mr Roberts.

"Australia is considered the next major cruising destination for yacht owners, which will have major positive impact on tourism, the marine sector and the broader economy."

According to Superyacht Australia, based on a KPMG report in 2017, Australia's marine manufacturing industry contributes $1.7 billion to the Australian economy, delivers $575 million in exports and directly employs 14,600 workers.

An Independent study by AEC Group estimated the Australian superyacht fleet value at $7.5 billion (59% domestic vessels and 41% foreign vessels), annual maintenance expenditure of $575 million, and operational expenditure in Australia (including crew wages and berthage) of over $400 million.

The superyacht sector also generates nearly $190 million per annum via foreign tourist/guest and crew expenditure. The expenditure and activity of the superyacht sector and its supply chain directly contributes approximately $590 million to GDP, with a further $1.38 billion generated through flow-on activity. A total of around 14,500 FTE jobs are supported by the industry, paying $1.2 billion in wages and salaries.

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