The transport of yachts has proven to be a lucrative niche for some logisticians. Promisingly, superyacht construction is rebounding fast after falling flat at the start of the pandemic.

Orders for superyachts longer than 30 m rose over 8 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period of 2019 before the pandemic, according to industry analyst Superyacht Group.

Over 200 new superyachts were launched this year up to the end of September, up from 165 in the same period of 2019. Some 330 have been ordered to be delivered before 2023. 

The impact of the pandemic has helped generate new orders. “Some have seen that their ultra-rich friends who own yachts had a nice time during the pandemic, while they had to lock themselves at home,” said Pepe Garcia, chairman of Spanish shipyards MB92, a leading superyacht refitter. “I think this phenomenon is going to last for a few years,” he added. MB92’s Barcelona (Spain) shipyard is working at capacity with boats measuring up to 180 m in length. 

Italian yacht builder Ferretti’s order book exceeded EUR900 million (USD1.02 billion) in January-September 2021, well above 2019’s full-year EUR691 million (USD790 million). At Azimut Benetti, another Italian yacht builder, the order book tripled to EUR1.2 billion (USD1.37 billion) by August from a year earlier, with USA-based clients driving the demand. 

The cost of a superyacht can range from USD10 million second-hand to USD600 million new, industry figures show. Their handling and transport requires specialised skills and equipment. Resurgent growth in this sector will be another boost to lines and forwarders active in this arena.