With a total of 16.67 km of coastline and four ports (the Port of Barcelona, the Port Vell, the Olympic Port, and the Port of the Forum), the maritime industry has, for a long time, been one of the main pillars of Catalonia’s economy, representing 4.3% of Barcelona’s total GDP.
The maritime port of the Forum (Barcelona) with the yacht Titania among others
Even though the pandemic has negatively impacted the city’s economy, tourism, and job market, new opportunities have still arisen. Not only does the cruise industry and goods transportation industry continue to grow steadily, but the maritime sector also generates about 15,000 jobs in the Catalonian capital. Besides, Barcelona aims to repurpose its seafront areas specially created to host the 1992 Summer Olympics into a new cruise ship terminal set to open in 2024.
Barcelona, the new Mediterranean Superyacht Hotspot
During the pandemic, Barcelona has become the perfect destination for the world’s billionaire owners of superyachts, seeking to keep a distance from other people, which ultimately has led to an increase in demand for superyacht maintenance services. The future is now brighter with a great potential for growth and job creation: throughout 2022, a private investment of $22.7 million (€20 million) aimed to turn the city into the largest port and maintenance facility for superyachts in the Mediterranean which could potentially attract many billionaire yacht owners to the Catalonian capital.
The superyacht Hampshire II on its way to Monaco, Barcelona (photo: Antoni Casinos)
With a 70% increase over the last decade, the superyacht market continues to grow: there are currently 370 megayachts over 60 meters worldwide, a number expected to increase to 500 by 2029. The spike in demand will require more available services to tackle shipyard construction needs, maintenance, and repair.
Solid Superyacht Refit, Repair, and Maintenance Expertise
The MB92 Barcelona, a superyacht maintenance facility part of M92 Group, strategically located in the superyacht Marina of Port Vell, has about 40 workshops in the Catalonian capital, where 180 employees and around 1,000 contractors cover all types of superyacht services such as carpentry, painting, and insulation, among other repair specialties, with a focus on Spring and Fall.
MB92 Group has reported revenues of more than €150 million and €191 million (about $215 million), in 2019 and 2021, respectively, in its two refit shipyards of Barcelona and La Ciotat (France).
The superyacht AHPO in the Port of Barcelona (photo: Antoni Casinos)
In 2020, the MB92 Barcelona committed to embracing sustainability as one of its core values across the M92 Group shipyards, launching a five-year sustainability plan (2021-2025) to consolidate the company's position as a leader of the superyacht refit sector by implementing new initiatives in six key areas of focus:
- Reducing the shipyards’ carbon footprint
- Reducing combustible gas emissions
- Minimizing non-recoverable waste
- Adopting measures to improve port and seawater quality
- Reducing VOC emissions
- Increasing their social responsibility
While the journey ahead is still socially and environmentally challenging, governments and companies are becoming more and more receptive to finding solutions for the industry problems together not only at a company level, but also by guaranteeing better supply chain environmental practices. Through these efforts, the future of the superyacht industry could become more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.