G’day Sydney!

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Australia’s largest boat show attracts about 60,000 attendees.

Australia’s largest boat show attracts about 60,000 attendees.

The Sydney International Boat Show opened today, with a strong showing of U.S. companies. The five-day show is considered one of the most important in the region, with exhibitors from Australia, New Zealand, North America and Asia.

“In this part of the world, it’s absolutely the show to be at,” Chris Baird, CEO of Oceanmax and former managing director of Fusion, told Trade Only Today. “Sydney gets a lot of business. You see all the big international players like Beneteau, Mercury and other U.S. builders. It’s a strong show not only for Australia, but for doing business with a lot of Asian countries.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association organized the first-ever U.S. Pavilion for the Sydney show, with 15 companies in attendance. In addition to 12 equipment manufacturers, Grady-White Boats, World Cat Boats and Stingray Boats are in the pavilion.

“New-boat sales remain strong in Australia, and it remains one of the top export markets for U.S.-manufactured marine products and boats,” Julie Balzano, senior export director for NMMA, told Trade Only Today. “We selected this show as our chosen platform for showcasing some of the best that our U.S. industry has to offer to the Australian market. The U.S.A. Pavilion highlights manufacturers and boatbuilders looking for new customers and B2B partners in Australia.”

The U.S. Pavilion is the show’s largest single-country group, with 15 boat and equipment exhibitors.

The U.S. Pavilion is the show’s largest single-country group, with 15 boat and equipment exhibitors.

Larry Bernaski, Enterprise Florida’s marine industry specialist and regional manager of international trade development, noted that the state’s marine industry is a significant economic “driver.”

“Our organization attends events like IBEX, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the Miami International Boat Show to stay abreast of issues impacting Florida’s marine industry and their interests as it relates to expanding into overseas markets,” he told Trade Only Today.

The state agency also works with the U.S. Commercial Service and NMMA on international efforts. “The decision to focus on the Sydney International Boat Show came about through this collaboration,” Bernaski said. “Each organization heard that the Australian market in general and the Sydney Boat Show in particular was of interest to Florida marine companies.”

Of the 15 companies in the U.S. pavilion, nine are from Florida. The agency reimburses 100 percent of those companies’ booth costs through its Target Sector Trade Event Grants. Bernaski said Enterprise Florida believes that by “diversifying a company’s overseas presence, that company becomes better prepared to prosper through fluctuations in global markets.”

“It’s our hope that by being part of the Sydney show, our exhibitors demonstrate their support to local distributors and their desire to do business in Australia,” Balzano said.

Volvo Penta today did a global unveiling of its next-generation D4 and D6 propulsion packages at the show. The engine manufacturer streamed the event on Facebook Live.

“SIBS is an ideal place to show the public our new D4 and D6 packages for the first time,” said Giorgio Paris, president of Volvo Penta Region International. “We have a successful history in introducing our latest products at this show and are looking forward to sharing this special milestone with visitors.”

Expectations are high for a strong show this year.

Expectations are high for a strong show this year.

Australian builder Maritimo held a press conference on opening day, saying that it is on target this year to increase international sales to more than 50 percent of overall production.

CEO Garth Corbitt said the Queensland builder has completed a $13 million expansion of its production facility at the Coomera Marine Precinct and expanded its international distribution network.

“Never before have we been so well established to take the brand forward and increase our awareness levels and, ultimately, sales in the most significant markets internationally,” Corbitt said. “This global expansion strategy has been formulated by the senior management team over a period of years, and it has been necessary to get the foundations set correctly before embarking.

“Our product line is as diverse as it has ever been, our investment into R and D is paying off handsomely, and our physical production footprint has almost been doubled in the past 18 months, providing the capacity for future expansion,” he added.

Corbitt said the American market has accounted for $20 million in sales in the last year. The company is finalizing negotiations in Barcelona for its European representative. It showed the new M51 and M59 at the Sydney show.

U.K. equipment manufacturer Scanstrut announced that its ROKK Wireless received the top annual BLA Trade award at the show. It was named the “most innovative product” of 2019.

“We’re seeing major adoption all over the globe, on all types of vessels, as our phone becomes more and more integral to our on-board experience” marketing manager Grant Fox said after the awards were announced.

The 2020 Sydney show is scheduled for July 30-Aug. 3.

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