Gulf Craft proudly announces the delivery of its first Silvercraft 36 HT to India through its India representative, West Coast Marine.
India has always been one of the key markets of Gulf Craft. In the recent article in the November 2016 issue of IBI, West Coast Marine’s CEO Aashim Mongia, discussed about the growing boating market in India. Here’s an excerpt from this article:
Whilst India is at great pains to encourage inward investment for manufacturing, its government has also seen potential for its own domestic marine industry. India has 7,517km (4,671miles) of coastline much of it dramatically beautiful, and not a single marina to its name. But that is all set to change with two marinas in Goa due to come on stream by 2018.
At the same time, the development of the smaller ports and harbours to provide quayside amenities for leisure use is being actively encouraged. There is also a national programme to link the various rivers together into a national network. Helping to drive the embryonic Indian marine industry forward is Aashim Mongia, the CEO of Mumbai-based West Coast Marine Yacht Services PVT Ltd. The company sells new boats from international brands such as Gulf Craft. There is also a charter arm, plus a service centre and chandlery that stocks many global brands, such as Awlgrip, Dometic, Yamaha, Suzuki and Mastervolt. Marina development is another key business objective.
Mongia is very optimistic about the changes he is seeing, as the government begins to realise it is sitting on a revenue gold mine. “At the moment, the Indian market is very small, but its potential is immense,” he told IBI. “We had been urging the previous government to make India into a boating destination for years, but they didn’t deliver. But now things are happening.”
As it has been reported by IBI, the two new marinas in Goa have been sanctioned, and are both awaiting environmental clearance, expected in the next six months.
Mongia thinks the first ground will be broken six months after that. Meanwhile, there are also plans to rejuvenate the neglected Prince’s and Victoria Dock in Mumbai Port with a 600-berth marina, with talk of another marina eight miles down the coast to follow. Currently, the only berthing available is made of 300 swinging moorings in Mumbai’s harbour, and hard standing ashore.
Mongia knows from experience that the Indian people are hungry for a boating experience, but just need the infrastructure to support it.
“When part of the quayside at Mandwa was developed for commercial and leisure boating, it was attracting 2,000 people a day. With further improvements, this has risen to 5,000 people a day. When we opened a waterside restaurant that could be reached by charter boat, we expected to sell 20-40 covers per sitting. In fact, we sold 200 covers per sitting instead, with customers making an 8-mile boat trip across the river to reach the venue. We were fully booked from January to June,” he explains.
Mongia is convinced that once India can embrace the leisure industry and supports it properly, the people will seize the opportunity to get afloat. News of any new venture is rapidly shared via social media, with reviews of Mongia’s new restaurant rapidly going viral. The young, middle class professionals are always looking for new experiences to talk about.
“Once the marinas are established, they will become the venues for boat shows,” Mongia says. “This in turn will fuel the domestic market for boat sales, which will then lead to the creation of more marinas. At the moment, the government is taking baby steps, but I can see that in the next two or three years, once we have more infrastructure, the industry will take off, and India will quickly become a boating destination in its own right.”
Gupta agrees, but also sees the potential of the commercial sector. “India has a fleet of some 150,000 large fishing boats, between 55ft-70ft, and these are in a constant process of being upgraded,” he says. “These fishing and commercial fleet are a major market for us, and the proposed government initiative of opening up the large rivers as an inland waterway network will also create many more business opportunities.”
The expansion of ports and quayside infrastructure is also a major part of the ‘Make In India’ initiative, with tourism seen as a strong revenue stream for the country. Last year there were just over eight million tourist arrivals in India, generating a total of US$21bn of revenue, both directly and indirectly.
The government has realised that for every US$1 million invested in tourist-related activities, 78 jobs will be created. This, of course, includes the marine industry. Mumbai Port is already installing a worldclass cruise ship terminal, which will probably be the first of many throughout India.