U.S. builder breaks ground on Chinese shipyard

PALM BEACH, Fla. – U.S. based Tricon Marine, a builder of FRP/composite luxury yachts up to 180 feet long, recently broke ground on what it called “China’s first and only North American-owned and operated shipyard.”

Located just outside the city of Zhuhai in China’s Guangdong province, Tricon’s 55,000-square-meter facility will allow the company to offer its OEM manufacturer and custom yacht end-user clients “the highest quality design and construction at unprecedented value,” the company said in a recent statement. An initial $8-million investment is budgeted for Phase I with a total investment of $21 million over five years.

Production and employee training began in early 2007 on an 88-foot high-performance offshore vessel at Tricon’s temporary facility adjacent to its new yard-in-construction, the company reported. The new shipyard is expected to be fully functional by August. At full capacity, the yard will have a production capacity of 16 yachts indoor and in-water work on two additional yachts up to 55 meters in length at its pier, according to Tricon, which expects it will be able complete up to $60 million in work per year depending on the size of the yachts under construction.

“Tricon Marine is committed to strictly adhering to client specifications and contractual obligations while offering unmatched craftsmanship and quality at a competitive price that sets a new value standard in the industry,” said Christos Livadas, chairman and CEO of Tricon Marine. “We intend to put China on the map as a place for world class yacht construction as never before.”

Livadas suggested that Tricon’s clients will benefit from significant labor cost savings – approximately 30-percent less per hour less than Taiwanese yards and over 60-percent less than the company’s U.S. and European based competitors.

“As a result, a typical 150-foot yacht that requires approximately 400,000 man hours, would offer approximately US$15 million in savings to our customer, when compared with construction in the USA,” Livadas stated.

Tricon said its management team has more than 75 years of combined industry experience employed by companies such as WestBay and Ocean Alexander. Prior to founding Tricon, its principals said they commissioned and supervised the construction of 14 yachts with local Chinese builders.

The company currently has 64 employees and expects to grow its skilled labor pool to 210 workers over the next 18 months. Tricon said it carefully selects and oversees its workers and craftspeople, all of whom have experience at other shipyards in the area and a minimum of five years of active work in the yacht-building trade. In addition, Tricon Marine’s entire office staff uses English to communicate. All specifications, contracts, change orders and other documents are written in English to eliminate misunderstandings, the company reported.

“Tricon Marine Shipyard is capable of building any well-designed yacht brought forward by its clients,” the company concluded. “This includes custom yachts bearing both the Tricon name and that of its designers as well as yachts for established OEM brands currently built in the USA, Canada, Taiwan and elsewhere. As the only shipyard in China capable of fulfilling these needs, Tricon expects its services to be in high demand.”

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