Seventeen Northrop & Johnson brokers from five different offices across the globe gathered together to take a three-day shipyard tour in Italy in early December, visiting some of the country’s most esteemed and renowned shipyards. The shipyards included Tankoa, Baglietto, Benetti, Rossinavi, Overmarine, The Italian Sea Group and Sanlorenzo. Touring these yards educates our brokers on the ins-and-outs of the brand, allowing them to become even more knowledgeable for their clients.
“The shipyard tour gave us vital insight into both the intrinsic structure and unique business proposition of the respective Italian builders, which differ wildly on a wide range of metrics, from cost to build quality and everything in between,” says Matt Palmer, Yacht Broker based in Northrop & Johnson’s Monaco office. “This was coupled with an honest and frank dialogue into their capacities and current opportunities.”
From clients looking to build to those wishing to put their current yacht on the market, having the opportunity to speak knowledgeably is extremely valuable. Each shipyard is unique with aspects that set them apart from the next. Our brokers are able to speak to their clients from first-hand experience working with these different builders and are better able to assist them with their buying and selling needs. Their strong ties with the shipyards, coupled with their client’s best interests in mind, facilitates the perfect deal between the two parties.
“We learn a lot during these tours,” says Yacht Broker Sébastien Clavé. “As a result, we can share with our clients important information about new technology, design and delivery time. For example, we found out that all the shipyards we visited are fully booked until 2024 and — a few until 2026 — depending on the size of yacht the client wants to build. The market on new construction is really strong.”
“It’s so important to take the time to tour the shipyards we — and our clients — want to work with,” says Patrick Coote, Managing Director Europe. “We always need to keep abreast of the slots, availability, pricing, what’s under construction and what’s in the pipeline. New designs and techniques are coming out all the time, so we need to be able to advise clients on where they should build and why. One crucial way we learn that is by touring and building relationships with these yards.”
Our brokers were able to get up close and sit down with each shipyard to discuss new building techniques and the best new materials seen on yachts today. Each shipyard tour is not a tour in isolation. It’s part of a structured plan to continually increase the professional understanding and knowledge base of our brokers, which has in the past included tours to northern Europe, Turkey and Italy. This training also goes through legal, financial and construction matters.
“It’s impressive to see the recent advances in both construction techniques and technology on board the yachts,” says Ed Dickinson, Yacht Broker based in Northrop & Johnson’s Monaco office, “especially given that the shipyards already have busy order books.”
“Something we found that was particularly interesting to me was how many of the builders focused on sustainability as a core idea in how they saw their future builds going,” says Cromwell Littlejohn, Northrop & Johnson’s Chief Commercial Officer. “While most of them have introduced hybrid and diesel-electric over the years, now they’re starting to pull in hydrogen fuel cells and other sorts of sustainably-conscious initiatives so that our enjoyment of cruising leaves less of a carbon footprint on the earth.”
The group was led through each yard by two to three representatives, from the shipyard’s sales managers and CEO to the owner of the yard itself. This personal approach allows our brokers to put faces to their names and get first-hand experience with each shipyard’s unique culture. Making an effort to do these sorts of outings frequently is imperative. “These shipyard tours have been opportunistic to date, and now we’re looking at a more concerted effort in our “New Construction Division” to do these more regularly,” says Littlejohn. Getting a feel for each shipyard and its culture is integral to being able to accurately discuss different options with clients and manage expectations with the build process.
“I truly enjoyed our visit to the Italian shipyards at the end of November,” says Anna Franciszkiewicz, Charter Broker based in N&J’s Monaco office. “As a charter broker, I always see yachts at their best – as finished products – polished, decorated, with lunch or dinner served on the table. It was therefore very interesting to see them in different construction phases to realize how complex a new build process is and how much expertise it requires. Meeting the representatives from different shipyards gave us a broad view about their models, designs and availability as well as the organization of the construction process and build quality.”
By visiting the shipyards that Northrop & Johnson clients work with, our brokers remain educated and at the forefront of the industry, able to provide unparalleled service and insight.