OPINION: Could the cost of superyacht berths be about to soar?


Price competition for superyacht berths, particularly at popular marinas, is likely to intensify, according to Ignacio Erroz, manager of OneOcean Port Vell (pictured).

Superyacht berths at Barcelona’s port on the Costa Brava coast are significantly less ‘costa’ than other berths at some of the more traditional luxury yacht locations.

That’s what Ignacio Erroz, manager of OneOcean Port Vell, told Superyacht Investor this week. Now, he obviously has a vested interest in trying to lure superyacht owners and operators away from the bright lights of the Côte d’Azur to his Barcelona port. But has he got a point? Does his claim imply a wider truth that the cost of superyacht berths at the most popular locations is about to soar?

There’s certainly evidence for the claim that demand for luxury yacht berths could soon outstrip supply. Under construction in yacht yards around the world is a large number of superyachts and the vessels needed to support them.

Luxury yachts bigger than 80 metres

Set against that, there is a limited number of berths at the most popular glitzy locations on the South coast of France and elsewhere. Competition for very large berths – for luxury yachts bigger than 80 metres in length – is thought to be particularly fierce.

This is not a new trend – but it could be about to intensify. There’s the story of a 30-metre berth in the South of France that cost £225,000 in the 1970s, which was then sold for £12 million in the 1990s, according to James Munn, sales and charter broker with Northrop & Johnson.

Sold for £12 million

Competitively priced luxury yacht berths are not the only attraction of OneOcean Port Vell, according to its manager. The Barcelona port is one of only a handful of European marinas allowing tax-free servicing for minor maintenance work, he claims. That is a big draw to non-EU superyachts undergoing repairs and maintenance – enabling their owners and operators  to benefit from tax exemption on berth fees, works, supplies, tools, spare parts, and a selection of approved support services.

It’s unclear how the EU regards such incentives – particularly after its action to curb tax breaks offered by the Italian and Cypriot yacht sectors?

But we will leave navigating the murky waters of EU tax law and its impact on superyachts for another day!

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