Q&A with David Holley of Peters & May: Part 2

As a marine logistics company with a global focus, Peters & May has a unique perspective on the industry. We spoke to David Holley, managing director/president of Peters & May USA, about the company’s experience in 2010 and outlook for 2011. Below is the second part of our two-part Q&A. To read part 1, click here.

The word coming out of boat shows this year seemed to be cautiously optimistic. From your perspective, how were this year’s shows and what do you expect in 2011?  

The US boat shows in 2010 were better than the previous year and there certainly seemed to be serious buyers attending the events but for me the best judge of growth will be the attendance and sales at Miami and Dusseldorf boat shows in 2011. I am confident that these will be more successful and set a platform for strong international sales.

You recently opened a Florida office in addition to your U.S. headquarters, now located in Itasca, Illinois. Does that signify any change or increase in your focus on the U.S.?

Since our acquisition of AOS Chicago it was always our intent to have at least one other office in the USA. Upon purchasing the company our focus was to install the Peters & May mentality into the minds of the staff and to show the clients that they can get excellent levels of service without having to pay over the top for it. There is an excellent team spirit throughout the organization and by looking after our employees they in turn do the same for their clients.

The Florida office was added in order to better serve the yacht brokers and owners of larger yachts whilst at the same time giving a local platform to reach out to existing clients. Our focus is the same as laid down in our initial business plan and we continue to offer class-leading levels of service whilst maintaining the ability to think outside of the box.

Your company also handles logistics for performance racing. Can you talk about your relationship with that sport?

We have a division based in Itasca, Illinois, that focuses on performance powerboat logistics. As well as shipping performance boats for manufacturers and private clients we also work closely with performance racing organizations to deliver turnkey logistics support for their events. This year we were named as the official logistics provider for H1 unlimited and shipped their entire fleet to Qatar and back for the second year running.

How has that sport weathered the recession? Is it continuing to grow?

Powerboat racing relies heavily on sponsorship and as companies cut back on their marketing budgets the sponsorship figures dwindled. This affected race teams, race organizers and race sites. What impresses me most about the powerboat racing community is that at the time of need they can all pull together. Our involvement in the transport side of the sport has allowed us to give something back by sponsoring racers and teams of all levels. Despite the thrill of running an unlimited hydroplane this season I would have to say that we get the most satisfaction from our sponsorship of grass roots racing. The junior racers we are supporting now are the future of the sport. The sport is continuing to grow and next season promises to be even better than the last with new promoters coming into the US and with US racers competing in new global destinations.

You work with a variety of companies and individuals and deal with vessels that greatly vary in size and function. For example, you recently signed agreements with Viking Yacht Company, which manufactures competitive sport fishing boats, as well as Correct Craft, which builds ski boats. What approach does Peters & May use to handle the range of shipping requests it receives?

Our company is perfectly suited to shipping both small boats and larger yachts as our staff are experienced enough to be able to think outside of the box. A lot of the time it is the smaller shipments that can require the most thought as we receive inquiries for shipments to some remote areas of the globe. We all relish a challenge and once complete we can use the information gained from a difficult shipment to help other customers in the future.

With some many forwarders competing for the same business we are always working to add new services or tools to our portfolio so that we can keep a clear separation between the levels of service offered by us and our competitors. For example we provide our own shrink-wrapping, customized cradles and marine transit insurance. Recently we introduced a new tracking system as well as customized rate calculators for our key clients. Our team really cares about the business and I confident that that care is felt by our clients.

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