Coronavirus: What impact on the supply of the French nautical industry?

The coronavirus crisis is affecting many countries and impacting transport and industry. We questioned importers and distributors of equipment for nautical and recreational boating on the existing and future consequences in the sector.

Favourable boating seasonality

While the seasonal aspect of the yachting market is sometimes a difficulty for companies in the sector, it could prove favourable in the context of the coronavirus crisis. The opening of the nautical season and the preparation of the boats in the spring requires importers and distributors of the sector to anticipate the supply from the end of the previous year. The majority of shipments had therefore left Asia before the explosion of the coronavirus. " For a supply from Asia, it takes 1.5 to 2 months at sea. With a catalogue release in March, orders are placed in October or November "Michaël Amoros, Managing Director of Intermer Accastillage Diffusion, which operates with a single annual wave of maritime supplies and occasional airborne repairs, testifies. " We're securing inventory with a first wave of supply before the Chinese New Year.. "confirms Benoit Massard Combe of VDM-Reya.

" For the moment, importers have been more affected by the dockers' strike related to the pension reform and the containers that could not be unloaded, causing delays ", assures Xavier Dhennin, sales manager at Navicom.

Inventory management and alerting of marine equipment suppliers

If stocks are anticipated for the season, there is still a potential impact. A number of suppliers warn of the risks of disruption in the production chain. " Our suppliers, particularly Italian ones, explained to us the measures they were putting in place to maintain the activity. Some of them are also pushing us to stockpile. We also anticipate the stock based on what we know about the material components and their origin in Asia for example. It is known that the electronic boxes of engine manufacturers, coming from China, may pose a problem on production lines in Europe or the United States ", says Benoit Massard-Combe.

On the side of the fittings stores and building sites, the situation is variable. " We used to talk about it over coffee, but now we alert our customers who think before ordering about the possible risks of stock shortages. Afterwards, they may not have the cash to store ", says Xavier Dhennin. " It's too fresh in the news to know the reaction. The Accastillage Diffusion stores can consult the central stock on their ERP and decide on their supplies ", confides Michaël Amoros.

Others like Matt Chem admit that this outbreak is doing their business. Indeed, they have a stock of Derming, the hydro-alcoholic hand disinfectant gel. Given the current shortage in pharmacies, one out of every two orders is for this product...

Life jackets whose strikers are generally produced in China could be impacted

Protecting employees and anticipating financial risks

The main concrete measures taken by companies are to limit the travel of their employees. The financial directorates try to assess the risks and put in place the arrangements to best absorb the situation. If we imagine the logistical stakes, it remains difficult to know the behaviour of boaters. " The ambient anxiety, if it lasts with a worsening situation, will perhaps be more negative for boating, which is not a vital field. People would rather store pasta than life jackets! ", concludes Xavier Dhennin.

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