Interparus in touch! Disturbing news from the fields. Shipbuilders from the Netherlands can not decide what is more important for them - money or honor. Why all the fuss? Let's try to understand in more detail.
So, the title of the article reflects the essence of the current situation more than capaciously. In short, the shipbuilding sector (specifically superyachts) is in no hurry to join the sanctions against the Russian Federation. Moreover, many company representatives do not consider it necessary to do so.
More about the opinion of the Dutch side
As soon as hostilities began in Ukraine, many companies began to impose sanctions or even leave the Russian market. Instead, Dutch companies have begun to "assess the risks of leaving such a global and important market." Does this position raise questions? Definitely.
The Internet publication IBI (International Boat Industry) conducted an informal survey about their attitude to the situation. We doubt that any of the companies will dare to express their position officially. The Dutch partners evasively evaded direct answers. However, what the IBI reports were able to find out is not encouraging.
An unnamed source at the Dutch company says: “We are concerned about what is happening. The war brought many shocks to the market. This will adversely affect years of healthy growth and bring us back to earlier, more modest levels of product demand. By 2021, the entire Dutch superyacht industry is back to its best times since the turn of the 21st century! And this (to give you a sense of scale) is 6 superyachts launched in 2021 by Heesen Yachts.”
In addition, many analysts at Dutch companies are urging senior management not to impose sanctions or withdraw from cooperation anytime soon. “It is too early to say what the short-term impact of US, UK and EU sanctions will be. And how long will these sanctions last,” said one industry insider. To say we are shocked is an understatement.
Moreover, these companies do not care about what is happening on the territory of Ukraine. They are concerned about “the impact of our possible sanctions on future clients.” Capitalism without a human face :)
At the same time, companies hide behind the fact that their clientele is not only in the Russian Federation. Of course, but we understand perfectly well where a large number of superyacht owners come from.
Intermediate results of sanctions
The war in Ukraine has triggered unprecedented sanctions from the US, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and many other countries. The EU and the US have set their sights on Russian oligarchs. The United States and the United Kingdom alone have designated more than 100 Russian individuals and legal entities to impose sanctions against them. “We are teaming up with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets,” US President Biden said last week.
Last week, the EU authorities arrested the 156-meter superyacht Dilbar. Its owner is Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. French customs officials also confiscated Igor Sechin's yacht. Recall that Igor Sechin is the head of the Rosneft corporation. Other oligarchs, in fear, send their superyachts on cruises around the Maldives, take them out of the ports of Europe and America.
What are they waiting for in Holland? We will tell now.
Pitfalls and unpleasant secrets
So, now the fun part. Looking ahead, let's say that the source of such suspiciousness of the leadership of Dutch companies is long-standing entrenched corruption. Now more.
About 40 Dutch commercial shipbuilding companies operate in Russia. The trade lobby Netherlands Marine Technologies has stated that they get up to 30% of their turnover from exports to Russia. No data is available for Dutch superyacht manufacturers. But you can draw a parallel. And even need...
“The impact of the sanctions imposed in connection with the war in Ukraine will immediately affect the Dutch motor superyachts! Russians, as a rule, do not buy sailing yachts. And although they do not make up the majority of the Dutch sector's clients, the sanctions will have an immediate impact.
Payments for superyachts are made in stages. They are timed to coincide with certain events, such as the completion of the construction of the keel, hull or superstructure. Now access to payment is closed for them. We are losing money!” - says one of the insiders of the Dutch company. Very interesting thoughts, don't you think?
While these unnamed shipbuilding companies continue their work, delaying their exit from the Russian market, they are financing the war on the territory of Ukraine. That is, they help to prolong the war, and not end it sooner and again cooperate with the much-loved Russian oligarchs.
China, corruption and Switzerland
The heads of many Dutch shipbuilding companies (we remind you that in the superyacht sector) are corrupt. That is why they hesitate, why they do not leave the market and do not impose sanctions. It is surprising that such a pragmatic people - the Dutch - do not take into account the experience of their predecessors. What predecessors? Let's go back to 2014, Switzerland.
Switzerland is famous for its watch industry. The clients of Swiss watch companies are a huge number of rich and super-rich people around the world. However, unexpected problems came from Eastern colleagues.
In 2014, a full-scale war on corruption unfolded in China. Then the original Swiss watch on the hands of Chinese politicians served as an excellent indicator of their condition. Such watches have become a symbol of corruption and moral decay in society.
In fact, not only watches have become such indicators and symbols. But specifically in the case of the clock was an interesting moment. In 2013, a free trade agreement was signed between Switzerland and China, which meant a reduction of 60% in trade duties for the next 10 years. But due to the events of 2014, Switzerland found itself in the same situation as Holland today - there are a lot of clientele in a conditionally enemy country, but the money doesn’t smell. Moreover, the number of customers from China has become more than in other countries.
Despite this, Switzerland did not reduce the supply of its products to China. According to authorized officials, as it turns out, demand has not fallen, and the attitude towards Swiss companies is normal. This situation has become a precedent for the entire civilized world.
The Russians may account for about 10% superyacht owners in the world, but they own some of the largest vessels. Dutch shipyards building yachts over 50 meters never disclose the nationality or names of their customers.
This whole problem is not really new. The entire brand and luxury sector is utterly corrupt, all over the world, without exception. The vast majority of the people who buy their 200-meter-long superyachts, tens of millions of dollars of cars, fabulous watches, have not made their fortune in the most honest way. And largely due to corruption.
Dutch shipyards have the full financial right not to leave the Russian market and not to impose any sanctions. But can they remain on friendly terms with a country that has unleashed a new European war? How will they then feel and how will they look in the eyes of the world community? Let's leave these questions open. Let each reader find the answers for himself.
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