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 seasonality of boating

If 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 boats in the spring means that importers and distributors in the sector have to anticipate 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 wave of annual maritime supply and occasional airborne repairs. " We're securing stocks with a first wave of supply before the Chinese New Year.. "confirms Benoit Massard Combe of VDM-Reya.

" For the time being, importers have been more affected by the dockers' strike related to the pension reform and the containers that could not be unloaded, causing delays ", says 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 are alerting to the risks of disruptions 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 build up stocks. We also anticipate inventory based on what we know about equipment components and where they come from in Asia, for example. We know that engine manufacturers' electronic boxes from China could 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 today we alert our customers who think before ordering about the possible risks of out-of-stock situations. Afterwards, they don't necessarily have the cash to stock up ", 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 epidemic is doing their business. Indeed, they have a stock of Derming, the hydro-alcoholic hand sanitizing gel. Given the current shortage in pharmacies, one out of every two orders is currently for this product ...

Life jackets, whose strikers are usually 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. Finance departments try to assess the risks and put in place the measures to absorb the situation as well as possible. If we imagine the logistical stakes, it is still difficult to know how boaters behave. " Ambient anxiety, if it lasts with a worsening situation, will perhaps be more negative for boating, which is not a vital area. People will prefer to store pasta than life jackets! ", concludes Xavier Dhennin.

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