United Arab Emirates strengthens its position as yacht manufacturing hub

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to build on its position as one of the world’s leading international yacht manufacturing hubs as local manufacturers expand their operations, international developers relocate and the maritime industry expands with coastline developments, according to industry experts.  

The UAE currently ranks ninth in the world for superyacht manufacturing, with 15 projects under development, according to the 2015 ShowBoats International Global Order Book. Local and international manufacturers are set to announce a slew of new projects for the UAE at the 23rd Dubai International Boat Show.

The region’s leading leisure marine event, taking place from 3rd to 7th March 2015, will have boats on display worth AED one billion according to the organisers, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Dr. Khalid Al Zahed, vice chairman of Dubai International Marine Club Board said: “This year’s Dubai International Boat Show will reaffirm Dubai’s status as a leisure marine hub. As the water-based lifestyle becomes increasingly popular in Dubai, we will see this sector continue to expand and grow in the future. Dubai’s commitment to excellence in everything it does will drive the marine industry to achieve new heights and bring more visitors to the city.”

Boat builders expand manufacturing activities in UAE

According to the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries (DCMMI), the total UAE maritime industry is worth more than USD 61 billion, with 386 boats above 24m built in 2014, up 8% on 2013.

The fleet of yachts in Dubai has doubled since 2009, and the DCMMI predicts the creation of a national classification society, Tasneef, and the introduction of the world’s first code governing private yachts, the UAE Yacht Code, will boost the industry’s future development.

Boosting Dubai’s position as a global maritime hub, Comar Yachts, which has produced more than 6,200 yachts to date, will relocate some of its production facilities from Italy to the UAE. The company aims to manufacture locally around 100 catamarans and powerboats per annum in the 26 to 46 foot range, as it looks to penetrate the wider GCC market and beyond. Comar Yachts will also announce a major global launch at this year’s Dubai International Boat Show, with the world premiere of its Comet Power Cat line of power catamarans.

Marco Liello, partner of Comar Yachts commented,“The UAE has the advantage of being a major geographical hub, allowing us to extend our reach not only across the GCC but to India and south-east Asia as well. By moving production facilities here we are able to build boats, reach new markets and attract new customers more economically.If you look at the success of the regional yachting industry then a lot more shipyards should come to this part of the world, it’s just a question of finding the right place.” 

Local manufacturers are also expanding activities in line with the growth in Dubai’s maritime industry, which also aligns with Dubai’s National Innovation Strategy aiming to make the UAE one of the world’s most innovative nations within the next seven years.

The UAE’s Gulf Craft is investing USD 100 million over the next five years to develop a state-of-the-art facility to build a shipyard for the manufacture of superyachts within the marine district of Dubai Maritime City, a world-class maritime cluster in the heart of Dubai.

Named one of the top ten superyacht shipyards in the world, Gulf Craft has played a significant role in cementing the UAE’s position as a yacht production hub, and continues to support developments that build the country’s credibility on the international marine scene.

Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft commented, “Dubai has everything in place to become a global maritime industry hub and to be a centre of excellence for the yachting industry – there is a high degree of wealth, a commitment to the water-based lifestyle and the allure of Dubai as a brand that stands for excellence.

“Regulation and integration of the industry are key to establishing international credibility, and the recent announcement of the UAE Yacht Code is a prime example. With these new regulations in place, which is a first-time globally for private superyachts, the UAE is put on the map when it comes to the production of world-class vessels.” 

ART Marine, the Middle East’s largest 360-degree leisure yachting enterprise, and Al Shaali Marine, another UAE-based luxury yacht manufacturer will also be amongst exhibitors at this year’s show.

For more information, visit the Dubai International Boat Show or Dubai World Trade Centre.

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