Guest of Superyacht Australia and AIMEX, hosts of this year's ASMEX conference, 22 & 23 May, Erwin Bamps, COO of Gulf Craft, is staying on for the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, announcing today a formal agreement with Richard Morris to be the brand's distributor in this region.
Erwin Bamps (COO of Gulf Craft) and Mohammed Hussain Alshaali (Chairman of Gulf Craft)
Gulf Craft, a United Arab Emirates' company with 30 years experience in semi-custom manufacturing of boats 26ft to 135ft, has carved a reputation for 'boutique' boats, producing 400 per year for global markets that Bamps said are roughly '30% Arab Emirates, 30% Europe and 30% divided between the US, Asia and Australia'.
'Asia is becoming a very important market,' he continued, adding that Gulf Craft has been in Australia for 10 years and the market is 'growing in size and diversity'.
'The upturn in demand for boats 25m+ motivated us to look to work with somebody who has the credentials and experience in the region and the superyacht industry to suit our 'boutique orientation'.'
Morris, a Captain and stalwart of the superyacht industry, operates Australian Superyacht Charters and is a Director of AIMEX. Bamps praised Morris's extensive industry knowledge and expertise in the 'complete superyacht experience, from crewing to charter, legislation and branding'.
This is Bamps' first trip to Australia and the Gold Coast has impressed with its passion for boating. A keynote speaker at ASMEX, Bamps spoke about the importance of brand values and differentiation in a competitive market.
Referring to the GFC, Bamps pointed out that for the Arab countries, 'crisis is normal'. 'They are extremely pragmatic people. Crisis is a part of life in the UAE - every six months there seems to be a challenge, whether that's political, economic or social. Our global thinking has allowed us to weather any economic downturn.'
In 1982, Gulf Craft began operations building 'functional transport boats, Coast Guard and fishing boats', according to Bamps. 'Then we realised that there was a demand for boats as entertainment and we entered the more luxurious end of the market. In 1990, we began building yachts to 86ft, then by 1999 to 118ft. Our thinking became global and that is what has sustained and grown the brand.'
'We have 1500 staff over four shipyards, three in the Emirates and one in the Maldives, but management is extremely hands on. Boats are built to order and we work closely with all our customers.'