Appearing in the first-ever program release of LeadersReview.co.nz, marine leaders featured claimed that no matter how hard it was to break in, domestic-only players would find that developing an export side earlier was often a ‘saving grace’ down the track.
The old adage of hopping on a plane for 9 a.m. meetings in London next day, was never truer according to Ian Cook, Managing Director of internationally acclaimed Yachting Developments. Though current Marine Industry Association President, speaking in his own capacity as a businessman, Mr Cook contends that for his firm, the world market had from early days redefined his operation: “The globe is the boundary – there’s not really a local market (now) for what we are producing.”
For near ‘hundred percent’ exporters such as Southern Spars, who supply internationally eighty percent of the world’s superyacht and racing boat market, including the America’s Cup, Group CEO, David Glen had noticed the ‘super buyers’ returning to the European boat fairs at the end of 2009 and fortunately their interest had continued. Prior to that, the introduction of product innovations to match other sectors of the market had been a timely inflexion point for their business. Regardless of where in the local industry folk harkened, “…a lot of the top NZ brands internationally had developed from early days a (now) predominant export component to their operation,” said Mr Glen.
Myles Fothergill, who heads Whanganui-based Q-West Boatbuilders, one of the country’s larger custom commercial shipbuilding operations, claimed that while 2009 exports had suffered, efforts continued unabated during that time towards securing offshore custom. Known best domestically for their Kaikoura ‘Whale Watcher’ craft, fishing patrol and Police Deodar projects the past few years, 2010 had now presented a significant ‘win or two’ including a break into the Sydney tourism market -
“After two years of knocking on the door,” added Mr Fothergill.
Boat & superyacht refits specialist, Craig Park of Orams Marine Services – claimed that regardless of the domestic-export mix, for various players in marine it was very much a case of either, “getting out there, being prepared to go anywhere…or leveraging off our Kiwi reputation and inviting some of the world’s elite to come down here and see what we are doing.”
Regular trips across the Tasman to seasonal boat shows had almost become a ‘work commute’ according to custom launch builder, Lloyd Stevenson – “If the domestic economy is in the doldrums, it certainly adds a string to your bow.”
All leaders were approached to appear in the Marine version of Leaders Review, a new online series aimed at profiling an industry-nominated collective of local business leaders. The series concentrates on how local leaders focus through times of challenge and how they go about identifying opportunities.
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