GBS capitalises on pandemic-driven yachting tourism growth
Yachts transport specialist Global Boat Shipping (GBS) has set course for further growth in 2022 after an unlikely aid boosted its business in 2021. Namely, the onset of Covid-19 sparked an increase in demand for yachts by the tourism sector.
Speaking of the development, GBS managing director Michel Wirth noted that yachting tourism has been lifted by the pandemic as “in times of travel and contact restrictions, many have discovered the benefits of spending their holidays on their own yacht or aboard a chartered leisure boat.” GBS, a member of German EMS-Fehn-Group, has thus seen the demand for its services rise, and there is every reason to believe that the trend will continue in 2022.
The market has been booming for some time – and GBS has been able to capitalise on the trend. “Today, we are transporting more yachts in a month than we did in an entire year only a little while ago,“ Wirt says. In total, GBS delivered more than 600 boats and yachts to destinations all around the globe in 2021 – 50 percent more than in 2019.
GBS leveraging EMS-Fehn-Group’s logistics capabilities
During the period, GBS has been able to benefit from EMS-Fehn-Group’s presence in 19 European countries. The group has its own fleet of seagoing vessels, well suited for the transport of yachts. EMS-Fehn-Group Manfred Müller adds that the group is capable of providing a wide range of services from one single source.
In case of road transports, for example, GBS can rely on EMS-Fehn-Group’s own fleet of heavy haulage trucks. The company also benefits from the group’s own port terminals and the expertise that comes along with operating them.
Due to the significant increase in the number of boats shipped, and its track record with partners, GBS has managed to secure a spot as premium customer even by large carriers – although shipping yachts is only a niche for them.
“We were able to enter into good contracts with several important service providers in the past months,” Wirt says. “Thus, we have reliable access to tonnage while our customers benefit from good rates.”
Riding the waves of challenge and setting up for growth
Despite the booming business in 2021, GBS has also had to tackle a few obstacles, a couple of them being the blockage of Suez Canal and the congested US ports.
“We had to think outside the box on several occasions to make sure that yachts of our customers got to their destination without too much delay,” says Wirt.
In order to handle the increase in the number of orders more efficiently, GBS and its sister companies of EMS Fehn-Group recently invested in new software. „We continuously optimise our internal processes,“ says the group’s CEO Manfred Müller. “Planning, coordinating and successfully completing a large number of worldwide transports does not work without the right technology.”
The company has also redesigned its website with private yacht owners in mind, granting them quick access to information and company services and making it very easy for them to request a quote.
In addition, GBS is going to open a new branch office in the Mediterranean soon. „Other regions might have gained in importance, but the Mediterranean remains one of our most significant markets,“ says Wirt. As yet, he does not reveal where exactly the branch office will be located.
At the same time, Global Boat Shipping is going to expand its team in Elmshorn close to Hamburg.