Gibraltar is renowned for its quality fuel and easily accessible British supplies, but what else does it offer for the yachting industry? Yachting Pages recently spoke to World Marine Service (WMS), a leading yacht agent operating in Gibraltar, to find out more about the industry there and how it’s developing.
When was World Marine Service founded and how has it developed?
World Marine Service was founded in early 2012 and commenced operations in May 2012. Considering that the business is still in the early stages of development, we are absolutely delighted with our progress so far. As everyone knows, Gibraltar is a key port of call for many yachts in spring time and again in autumn, so we effectively have two “seasons” per year.
We are outperforming our business plan and building the number of yachts that we work with each season by at least three times as many. We are part of a group of companies, which includes a private jet operation, Queensway Quay Marina, and the group of businesses complement each other nicely.
How is WMS and the industry in Gibraltar developing?
We have been working together with other members of local private industry, to improve the “Gibraltar product” for the yacht industry. We are very nearly at the point of formalising the “Gibraltar Yachting Advisory Board”, a body, which mixes six private sector industry representatives with several members of the public sector, including the minister for tourism, public transport and the port, the captain of Gibraltar port and the head of the Gibraltar maritime administration. We have already made a great deal of progress and I am very confident that the yachting industry will notice an improvement in the “Gibraltar product” over the next few years.
On the operational side, we have recently invested in a Mercedes Viano, a great help for those important trips to the main supermarket - Morrison’s, to stock up with British products!
What are the biggest challenges that you face in the superyacht industry?
From our business perspective, the lack of quality berths available in Gibraltar means that many yachts are only able to stay in Gibraltar for a short period. Many yachts fuel and depart immediately. We are working hard to make berth facilities available and improve availability of the berths which currently exist.
From a Gibraltar perspective, I believe that our biggest challenge is getting the message out to the yachting and superyacht industry regarding just how much can be carried out in Gibraltar, and the facilities and services we have at the disposal of yachts, captains and crew, yacht managers and owners representatives. Yes, Gibraltar has attractive fuel pricing, guaranteed fuel quality and supermarkets with British products, but Gibraltar also has a vast array of other services available.
What are the other benefits and services available in Gibraltar?
The Gibraltar flag, company & yacht registration, insurance services, crew training, a huge technical and support service infrastructure as well as quality marina berths (though we are working on improving the amount).
What can Gibraltar offer visiting yachts, guests and crew?
There’s more to do and see in Gibraltar than people realise. Gibraltar offers a safe and secure environment for the crew to get some R&R, access to the nightlife and golf courses of the Costa del Sol, the atmosphere and adrenaline of Tarifa and beaches, plus Morocco is just 14km away as well as the incredible backdrop and history of the Rock of Gibraltar.
There are two marinas, the commercial port with facilities to accept any size yacht, world class fuelling facilities, proximity to Gibraltar international airport and enormous support services and industries available.
As a yacht agent, what makes you unique?
We are specialist yacht agents and place a very strong emphasis on our service levels. We believe that the yacht industry is very distinct from “standard” port agency work on the commercial ship side of the industry, so we work very hard to expand our understanding of what it is that yacht captains and crew want and need.
Our strengths are efficiency, attention to detail, honesty and good communication. World Marine Service complements this by ensuring that we are also very hands on, attending yachts upon arrival and regularly during a stay in port or whilst berthed at one of Gibraltar’s marinas. I believe that this combination makes us unique in Gibraltar, and we are delighted with the feedback we have been receiving – read our reviews on Yachting Pages.
Were you affected by the recession?
No. Gibraltar has managed to get through the recession remarkably well and as a result development of infrastructure and facilities has been, and continues to be impressive.