Berthing pains for Asia's rich put wind in the sails of marina developers
By Andrew Toh
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Marina developers in Southeast Asia are racing to build berths to address the latest problem vexing Asia's rapidly growing ranks of ultra-rich: insufficient parking lots for their superyachts.
Yacht sales in Asia currently account for 9 percent of the global market share, according to consultancy Wealth-X. While the number falls behind North America's 44 percent and Europe's 34 percent, industry experts expect sales to pick up rapidly within the next few years as the number of multi-millionaires in the region increases.
The boom has far outstripped infrastructure growth, resulting in some awkward moments when boats pull up to moor.
The shortage is most acute in Hong Kong and Singapore where space, whether on land or on water, is scarce and the number of multi-millionaires among the highest in the world. Singapore's ONE15 Marina Club, where monthly berth rentals cost S$10,000 ($8,000) for a 40-meter boat, is currently at full capacity. Hong Kong's Discovery Bay Marina Club, where berth rentals start at S$6,000 for a similar sized yacht, is also full.
"There's always been a big dream to have an 'ASEAN-ian' concept in competition with the Caribbean and Mediterranean," Bill Green, technical projects director for Camper & Nicholson First Eastern told Reuters, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which groups several Southeast Asian countries.
"But there's no real day sailing going on in the region at the moment because there just aren't enough marinas," he said. The distance between the marinas currently in the region makes day trips unviable, he added. Camper and Nicholson First Eastern specializes in designing and making luxury yachts in Asia.
The dearth of berths is providing an opportunity for developers such as Malaysia's largest listed property developer UEM Sunrise, which is building facilities in Malaysia's Iskandar region. Continued...