ACROSS THE BOARD
We talk to the MIASA board committee about the status quo of the SA marine industry
The new unified marine body of South Africa, MIASA comprises a committee of watchdogs eager to sink their teeth into all of the daunting challenges currently facing the maritime industry. Determined to breathe new life into the local market, MIASA’s board seem up for the fight. Leisure Boating looks for reassurance in each MIASA portfolio committee head. MIASA chairman Kevin Fouche established the Knysna Yacht Company in 2002, and the company is the proud builders of two remarkable products – the Knysna 440 and 480 yachts. Kevin claims that it was his shop fitting and interior business that gave him the “practical skills” to succeed in the boat building industry. Kevin represents the Yacht and Powerboat Builders (over 12 m) category. What challenges does your committee currently face?
KF: The industry has faced big challenges since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. We also had to face further challenges such as retrenchments, implementing the minimum wage rates, dealings with unions, sales that bottomed out; the announcement of a 10% Ad Valorem tax for boats longer than 10 m. The trend is gradually changing. At last year’s Miami boat show, the situation was not looking very good and boat sales were down – this year there was a mood of optimism. We also feel positive that SARS will give MIASA’s response to the 10% Ad Valorem tax serious consideration. What plans or actions are put in place to curb the challenges?
KF: For now, business remains tough, particularly for the production yards whose trade has virtually ground to a halt. The key challenge is not to fight the pessimistic atmosphere but to bring together; as a group; all our experience, unmatched talent and top expertise to bring new fresh ideas to the market. A SA based “Yacht Maintenance Service Yard” in the Caribbean and Mediterranean will give South Africa boat yards the opportunity to refer yachts to the yard for assistance with repairs, thus eliminating unfair repair charges and costs many boatyards have to shoulder. This important requirement will offer peace of mind to all the international clients…