This time in Humans of METSTRADE: Marianne Hendriks, Managing Director of Dutch superyacht and luxury yacht builder Moonen Yachts. About interesting trends in the marine industry, Moonen's 40th anniversary and visiting METSTRADE.
What attracted you to working in the marine industry?
I really like the ship building industry and first became involved by joining electrical systems integrator, Alewijnse, in 1999. That was where my love for superyachts started. I moved to Moonen Yachts in 2018 and was appointed Managing Director last year. We have a long history of constructing high quality ships here in the Netherlands and we are within the top three countries worldwide for superyacht builds. I'm glad to be a part of that story.
Tell us about your business?
This year is Moonen’s 40th anniversary. In recent years we have specialised in building semi-custom superyachts between 30m-50m that have steel hulls and aluminium superstructures. Our owners since 2019, Matthew and Louise Baxter, believe that we should build on-spec, to shorten delivery times and to have superyachts available that we can show.
If customers have early involvement in our build process, then a lot of customisation is possible. If we complete a build on-spec without a buyer, we act as if we are the owner and decide the best fit-out, given modern practices and market requirements.
Dutch superyacht yards each occupy their own niches and there are no bad builders in the Netherlands. We have to distinguish by construction quality, design and by personal interaction. The globe is our playing field and there are no boundaries for a person who wishes to buy a Moonen. Our brand has a worldwide reputation for premium quality and our designs have shallow draught. There is a demand for this in Europe , the US and the Emirates, but we also have owners from as far away as Australia.
We will be delivering a 36m to an existing Moonen customer at the end of the year, as well as starting two further builds on spec. We also have a 42m on the drawing board, so we are busy and doing well.
What interesting trends are you seeing in the industry?
At the start of the pandemic no-one knew what to expect, but we learned there is a benefit in every situation. It is all down to the way you approach it. We sold a Moonen 36m last year through virtual contact and completed the whole specification and build process without a customer visit. That would not have happened before.
In terms of design, the stern of the ship and creating a beach club area for sunbathing, water sports and easy access to the water is becoming much more important.
The environment is a hot topic and of course we are needing to adapt the engine room and layout of our superyachts to meet the new IMO Tier III regulations. Energy and fuel consumption, reuse of heat and water, as well as selection of materials that do not harm workers or the environment are all important topics on today’s calendar. This is affecting our equipment sourcing decisions. In the past we would say ‘what does it cost and how long is the delivery time’? Now there’s a lot more to selecting the right products – environmental impact is one of the new priorities.
What is the importance of METSTRADE to your business?
METSTRADE is the only worldwide event where the entire superyacht construction, equipment and production industry comes together. It is important to see what the market is offering and to learn about new products, trends and regulations. It takes thousands of pieces of equipment to make one beautiful superyacht, so you need to be able to meet with a lot of suppliers. METSTRADE makes that happen.
How do you plan a typical METSTRADE visit?
Our technical, design and procurement staff all schedule meetings with suppliers. I also plan as many appointments as possible and normally work around the SuperYacht Pavilion (SYP). I try to keep at least one day free without meetings to meet up with people informally around the show.
Which METSTRADE areas and activities do you most look forward to?
I really like the areas within the SYP where you can sit to chat in privacy. I visit The Super Yacht Forum which is held concurrently with METSTRADE at RAI Amsterdam. I also like to visit the METSTRADE press centre. It’s easy to speak to many journalists from around the world there, to update them on Moonen Yachts but also to learn from them what is happening elsewhere.