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Yachts and ships become Poland’s bestsellers

Published: 16.12.2015

Performance of Poland's shipbuilding industry keeps improving. Last year alone, Polish exports of ships, boats and other watercraft hit PLN 17.5 bln, while in H1 2015 they approached PLN 10 bln. The industry's success is linked to the fact that Polish ships and boats enter more and more exotic locations such as the Cayman Islands, Faroe Islands, Vanuatu, Congo or Djibouti.

Polish watercraft exports in 2014 were worth about as much as the country's entire exports to Slovakia, the 10th biggest recipient of Polish exports, show the data of stats office GUS.

“The figures, which show the enormous volumes of exports of yachts, boats, ships and other watercraft, are impressive, especially if we note that Polish exporters from this industry have mastered expanding far and wide. The share of developing countries in Polish watercraft exports amounted to PLN 4.2 bln in the current half-year and reaches nearly a half of the value of the entire exports of these means of transport,” according to Radoslaw Jarema, head of the Polish unit of payment institution Akcenta, which settles FX transactions of exporters and importers.

Norway is the biggest importer of Polish boats and ships (PLN 1.57 bln in H1 2015), followed by the Bahamas (PLN 1.38 bln), Turkey (PLN 0.77 bln), Russia (PLN 0.7 bln) and Liberia (PLN 0.57 bln). Interestingly, it is thanks to the purchases of Polish watercraft that the Bahamas rose to a prominent position among the recipients of Polish goods in Americas, overtaking such heavyweights as Mexico and Brazil.

More new markets among export recipients

Polish watercraft exporters are gazing far beyond the horizon, Jarema notes.

“The list of directions of our watercraft exports is very long. In H1 2015, it comprised over 80 countries and territories, while in 2014 it was as many as 100. Our exporters supply ships and boats to equatorial countries as well as to Antarctica,” he says.

Polish watercraft exports could see some structural change this year, Akcenta analysts predict. Specifically, the situation of Norway could influence the total as the country is the biggest recipient of Polish watercraft exports, holding a 26% share.

“The case of Norway shows very well how foreign trade and its profitability depend on the FX market. The Norwegian crown, similarly as the other currencies of the region, is strongly influenced by crude oil price declines. Polish watercraft exporters who settle their transactions in this currency and failed to hedge them using e.g. forward contracts, have felt the impact thereof, especially in Q1 2015,” Radoslaw Jarema notes.

Polish watercraft exports to Norway, which were worth PLN 4.6 bln in 2014, amounted to PLN 1.6 bln in H1 2015. This may indicate that this area may show a worse result in y/y terms in the full year.

Polish yacht industry improving results

Poland’s yacht industry is in a very good shape, and this year’s revenues of yacht shipyards and their suppliers will top PLN 1 bln, according to the estimates of Polish yacht industry and watersports chamber “Polskie Jachty”.

Yachts and boats produced in Poland are mostly sold abroad – over 95% of the output is sold on the European and global markets. But the interest in watersports is rising in Poland. Hence, more and more yachts, including the luxury vessels, fly the Polish flag.

The graph shows the increase in the number of employees working in ships and boats production and repairs industry. While in 2009 their number amounted to just over 23k, in 2013 it rose to 31.5k.

Source: GUS

In the opinion of the chamber’s president Sebastian Nietupski, the already excellent condition of the sector will improve further.

“We are at the point of exiting the crisis. We note a clear increase in purchases of new boats, both in Poland and in Europe,” he said.

Polish yacht shipyards boasted an annual output of 22k vessels a year before the crisis, he reminds. The production then fell, but now the yacht industry is recovering. In 2015, the sector’s output should reach 17k vessels, the chamber expects. “We plan production growth by more or less 5% annually in the next few years,” according to Nietupski.

Outboard motor boats – Polish specialty

Among best export products of Polish shipyards, one should name motorboats with outboard motors and length of up to 9 meters. Poland is the world’s second-biggest producer of such watercraft, after the US. Polish output of these vessels accounts for about 50% of EU total internal exports of this product as well as 30% of the block's exports to non-EU countries.

The Polish yacht industry’s condition is improving, in the opinion of Grzegorz Tuszynski, a director at the plant of one of Poland’s leading producers, Galeon. The company specializes in production of motorboats and mid-sized yachts with a length of up to 25 meters.

“We can see it on our sales curve, it is rising each year. We acquire more partners, domestic and international clients; also, our markets are broadening significantly,” Tuszynski told PAP. Galeon vessels are delivered to clients virtually in the whole Europe as well as to Middle and Far East. Presently, the company is “dynamically entering the American market with a very strong partner,” the director added.

One in 10 watercraft made by Galeon is sold in Poland as the domestic market is growing and the interest in watersports is rising steadily, also in the case of luxury yachts. “We can see that the condition of the country and of local businessmen is improving, too, the number of people buying vessels is rising,” Tuszynski notes. “This is linked also to the fact that yachting is becoming more and more popular, infrastructure is built, new marinas.”

Polish yacht industry comprises some 900 enterprises, of which nearly 100 are shipyards building yachts and boats, according to the chamber’s estimates. The leading companies include Delphia, Galeon, Ostroda Yacht or Balt-Yacht.

Source - Polish Press Agency, Economic Service 

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Published by: Justyna Kania
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