Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wednesday Column - Croatia Business 4:Shipbuilding Part Two


In last week’s Wednesday Business Column we looked at the state owned shipyards. Part Two focuses on the smaller privately owned yards. The biggest of these yards is Heliyachts International, based in Pula, in the northern peninsula of Istria. Heliyachts are setting the standard in the private sector. They delivered their first boat in 1998, a 33 metre classic cruising ketch, and then set out to equip the yard to cater for the building of custom made sailing and motor boats between 20 and 50 metres. The up to date workshops are spread over 1000 square metres and Heliyachts has a 200 ton travel lift. They’re currently working on a 50 metre steel motor yacht, due for delivery in 2007, and a number of refits. For more information on Heliyachts, have a look at its high tech website, http://www.heliyachts.com/.

NCP Sibenik, http://www.ncp-rbs.com/, is a relatively new entrant into the industry, having taken over an old naval repair yard in 2004. Sibenik is ideally situated, about half way along the Croatian coast line, and there are big plans to improve the area. NCP currently concentrates on refits but would like to get into the new build market. Its facilities include a 900 ton Syncrolift, a 50 ton Wise Hoist, a 1500 ton floating dock and three engine test stands for engines up to 5150 kilowatts.

Nauta Lamjana is another new entrant into the market, concentrating on refits, and has recently taken over a commercial ship repair and oil rig builder on the island of Ugljan. The web site appears to be under reconstruction at the moment - http://www.nauta-lamjana.hr/

The site of Brodogradilište Cres has been involved in the shipbuilding industry for over 100 years. A 1000 ton floating dock was installed in 1984, making a turning point in the yards history, enabling it to cope with much larger boats. It also has a 100 ton travel lift. The yard is authorised to carry out repairs on steel ships up to 12,000 tons, wooden and fibre glass ships of any size, and to build wooden ships of up to 15 metres in length. The yard is located in Cres town on Cres island, the largest of Croatia’s islands. Their informative website can be found at http://www.brodogradiliste-cres.hr/

Shipyard Leda, http://www.shipyard-leda.hr/, formerly known as Inkobrod, is based on Korcula island and specialises in naval architecture. It has a 100 ton crane, manufactures sections for larger shipyards, has acquired a reputation in modifications to eg hatches and ramps, and builds and refits smaller boats.

The shipyard at Betina, Murter, has a 240 ton crane, good facilities and has established a serious reputation in refurbishment and refit. The website is http://www.shipyard-betina.com/, but at the time of writing the information was limited and some of the links between pages were broken.

Brodogradilište Punat, http://www.shipyard-punat.com/, has a 100 ton travel lift, three slipways (160, 450 and 600 tons) and offers a range of refit and repair services.

I believe this to be a reasonably complete list of the main players in the market, based on local knowledge, supplemented by what I have gleaned from the net. If I have left anyone out, please let me know. There is a big gap for a directory of nautical services/shipyards in Croatia and the internet resources in this respect leave something to be desired. We’ve had to build up our database from scratch over a number of years though it’s good to see that The Croatian Chamber of Commerce are now trying to pull some of this information together.

Complete or not, the Croatians obviously have a firm foothold in various sectors of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry and this part of the economy looks set to grow. Heliyachts and NCP are clearly pitching their services at the superyacht industry and lets hope they get a bit more help from the government than they have in the past year. No sooner had Croatia come back onto the map as a desirable destination for large yachts, than the government effectively killed the interest with mystifying new laws. Generously, these new laws were designed to prevent the black charter industry, cynically they were nationalistic and protective, practically they may have frightened off what could have been, and still could be, an important source of income, as well as a lot of goodwill from genuine exceptions that don’t quite fit into the hard line, and some would say unworkable, legislation. As far as Heliyachts and NCP are concerned, let’s hope that superyachts feel welcome again in Croatia soon.

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