Breaking News:

GMBA Consultants Converge in Singapore

GMBA Consultants Converge in Singapore to Discuss Challenges and Opportunities in the Marine Industry.

Global Marine Business Advisors (GMBA) held their 2-day conference and AGM on 25/26 April at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club prior to the ICOMIA conference and the Singapore Yachting Festival.  The AGM confirmed the reappointment of Veda Pretorius as Chairperson and the re-election of the current executive committee of Jouko Huju, Maryanne Edwards, Thom Dammrich.  Kai Malmivaara was reappointed CFO for the group.

Veda Pretorius Chairperson of GMBA

The meetings focus was to gain updates on specific regions as well as to discuss the opportunities and challenges currently faced by the global marine industry.

The focus on sustainability on the first day of the ICOMIA conference was also a key theme for GMBA.

Whilst initially it was the larger corporate companies that had in depth ESG policies, GMBA were now being approached by SMEs to explain how they can use environmental, social and governance frameworks to better evaluate the sustainable and ethical impact of their businesses. It is becoming more prominent that banks are looking at ESG issues when assessing the overall sustainability and ethical performance of a company as part of their lending criteria.

Another issue raised by several speakers at the ICOMIA conference was the inaccurate perception by politicians and bureaucrats towards the industry which in some instances was preventing regulatory support for the sector. As an industry, to combat this perception it was felt more coverage was required in mainstream media about the positive effects of the industry, for example, the many technology advancements, the sustainability and environmental initiatives, the growth in marine tourism and the many transformative benefits that flow out of the industry. Several GMBA consultants had been involved in the development of economic impact studies that clearly show the contribution the marine industry makes to communities, the significant supply chains they generate and the growing value of marine tourism. These reports have assisted developing regions with frameworks to drive regulatory change for the industry.

GMBA had been approached to investigate the development of online training programs for manufacturers in developing countries who were forced to do all training on site. GMBA is currently discussing the design of a training program that would address this issue and make the qualifications gained portable globally.

The value of award programs was raised, it continues to be a debate as to whether these programs are valuable for businesses. GMBA have assisted a number of businesses to develop entries for awards and assisted in helping the business dissect and evaluate what they are doing. The process of applying for awards typically involves reflecting on the business achievements, strengths, and areas for improvement. This introspective process has helped businesses gain valuable insights into their own operations, identify areas for growth and strengthen their business strategy. A key benefit of entering awards is they provide a platform to allow companies to highlight their business to domestic and global markets. GMBA will continue to support relevant industry award programs where possible.

Market opportunities were discussed at length and particular where most businesses are focusing their efforts seeking global distributors. The geopolitical issues facing the global economy are negatively impacting some markets while benefiting others. An example being the conflict in Gaza which has spilled over to the Middle East, has raised tensions in the region. The attacks by Houti rebels on merchant shipping has created an atmosphere of fear around travel in the southern Red Sea. Insurance companies and management firms are erring on the side of caution and recommending a detour around the Southern tip of Africa, via Cape Town. Veda Pretorius GMBA South Africa commented; “Cape Town has seen the effects of the conflict which has had a positive impact on our efforts to solidify Cape Town as a superyacht destination. The last couple of months have seen an increase in superyachts coming and we now have bookings right through till June.”

YP Loke GMBA Singapore commented, “We were privileged to welcome our GMBA colleagues to Singapore amidst the vibrant atmosphere of the Singapore Yachting Festival. Over two immersive half-days, we engaged in discussions that provided insights into the boating industry. Our agenda was enriched by the expertise of two distinguished external speakers, Kaushal Rajapaksa who shed light on the nascent Sri Lanka boating market and Stephen Beng talked about the importance of businesses defining their social responsibility policies and how Capital Management incorporate ESG considerations into their investment decisions. Kenta Inaba, GMBA Japan, spoke about his home market and the challenges and opportunities in the Japanese boating sector.

The timing of our Congress coincided with the inaugural ICOMIA Boating Industry Conference, affording us the chance to contribute to panel discussions. This convergence also amplified our networking opportunities, engendered closer collaboration, and offered fresh perspectives on the Asian boating landscape, especially or our colleagues from Europe.”

Whilst there were a lot of issues discussed over the 2 days the focus centred around better defining GMBA, the lack of formal training in developing markets, the ability to retain key staff across all sectors of the industry, geopolitical issues, sustainability, succession planning for SME’s and market opportunities.  GMBA also took the opportunity to visit the Yacht Festival at Marina One15 on Sentosa Island. This again provided a valuable opportunity to view the impressive line-up of Yachts and reconnect with key industry stakeholders.

by MaryAnne Edwards

Those wishing to contact GMBA in Australia can do so through MaryAnne Edwards  or call +61 412 916 036
Global Marine Business Advisors website
Global Marine Business Advisors is a registered legal entity and is a network of independent marine industry consultants.