Incorporated in 1948, what was at first a relatively small shipyard grew in stature over the next 25 years, providing a full in-house repairs and maintenance service to a fleet of ferries, which at its peak numbered over 100 vessels. Following the opening of China’s marine sector to private companies in the 1980s, Hong Kong Shipyard became the leading player in the market to carry out fast ferry repairs and maintenance on high-speed engines and hulls of all shapes and sizes. The company was also an authorised shipyard to repair and maintain British Naval vessels by Department of Defense, UK before 1997.
In the decades since, the company has taken the skills and qualities it has gained throughout its history and evolved its business model to the point where today it provides a range of services to the super yacht sector: “From carrying out minor or major repairs to overhaul, refitting and the upgrading of engine systems, the company works to meet the needs and requirements of each individual vessel owner,” explains Hong Kong Shipyard director, David Ho. “This full range of services also includes machinery overhauls, the modification of systems and equipment and the installation of stabilising solutions.
“These super yachts, owned by both individual operators and companies, are typically regular refit customers, returning to Hong Kong Shipyard every year or so. While, understandably, a great number of these vessels are run by operators and companies based around mainland China, a great many also call other surrounding countries their home, with some even originating from Russia.”
The reputation earned by the company over its 64-year history, supported by a strong technical team with an almost unrivalled degree of experience in the marine sector, which offers 24-hour comprehensive and emergency services, is just one of the reasons why it continued to not only support long-standing clients, but also bring in new business on a consistent basis. Another contributing factor is the infrastructure and equipment at its disposal, from its slipway, which measures 20 metres in width and 90 metres in length, to its heavy and safe lift systems that are capable of handling some 3400 tonnes in it’s Syncrolift.
“In the last several years Hong Kong Shipyard’s business levels have grown steadily on the back of strong word-of-mouth and a concerted marketing effort that has seen the company appear in countless industry magazines and publications, while also appearing at both local and international boat shows,” David continues. “It is the company’s belief that it is more important now than ever to get out there and raise awareness of what it is doing here in Hong Kong. The reason behind this is the fact that it is universally accepted that over the next decade the country will affirm itself as one of the major global epicenters of the super yacht market.
“As the level of wealth grows throughout South East Asia so too will the number of individuals seeking to purchase such vessels for the purpose of leisure and of course what they will require is someone to take care of these vessels when it comes to maintenance and servicing, and that is where a proven specialist like Hong Kong Shipyard comes into play.”
Going forward, David is confident that business will remain strong as more and more yacht owners become aware of the significant role that good maintenance and regular servicing plays in a vessel’s ability to retain its value: “An important trend that the company has recognised, particularly in the last decade, is that a good proportion of owners retain their vessels for no more than a few years before replacing it with a new model. This has made the business of reselling all the more important with these same owners hoping to recoup as much of the initial cost of the super yacht as possible. What they have found is that without the support of a good maintenance provider their vessel’s resale value plummets, and that is why they seek out trusted entities like Hong Kong Shipyard to look after such prized assets.”
With Marine Department of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region recently announcing a change in legislation that requires all vessels with 150 gross tonnage and above or holding of passenger capacity over 60, to undergo annual docking surveys, there are already clear signs that David’s belief that business will continue to grow is not misguided.
What he is equally clear about is what Hong Kong Shipyard needs to do in order to remain a key part of the region’s marine sector for many more years to come: “Going forward the ability to maintain a good degree of co-operation with manufacturers and producers throughout the supply chain will only become more important, both on a regional and global scale. Meanwhile, the company will carry on introducing new technologies and equipment, such as high performance Sweden MJP waterjet and Canada Current Corps day and night navigation equipment to its operations, ensuring that Hong Kong Shipyard remains capable of meeting the changing needs of its customers.”
Servicing super yachts
Long, distinguished history
Growing after sales business