Meet Kristina Webster. As Leisure Yacht Brand Manager at Peters & May she is far from your typical ‘Lady of Leisure’. An expert in her field, she spends her days working closely with private individuals, yacht brokers and management companies sharing her unmatched knowledge when it comes to the shipment of Leisure Yachts.
Over 15 years’ experience within the industry have taught Kristina everything she knows. From tricks of the trade, to overcoming challenges.
We caught up with Kristina to get the lowdown on trends in the Leisure Yacht industry, insight into Peters & May’s operations and her top predictions for the future of yacht shipping!
What do you consider the biggest challenge involved in yacht shipping?
“Customers are looking for the fastest, safest and cheapest solution to get their yacht from A to B; our challenge is to offer exactly that! Private individuals are often under time pressure; they would like their yacht to arrive at the desired destination for an event, holiday or charter. Finding workable solutions to meet these expectations, within a clients budget is what we strive to achieve. I would say the biggest challenge is that of vessel delays due to weather or port congestion. Obviously, this is out of our hands. However, with our vast experience we are able to advise customers prior to booking of any risks so any potential issues can be planned for.”
Are there any common concerns your clients have regarding yacht shipping?
“Concerns have shifted over time - 15 years ago, yacht shipping was not as common or as public as it is today. Customers used to have questions regarding the general loading and lashing arrangements. Nowadays people have often watched videos or read a blog about this topic so have a greater understanding of how things work. These days, questions are now far more technical. Customers want to be involved in the planning process to understand all the details. At Peters & May we have a fantastic technical team who plan every lift and stow plan to precision. These plans can be shared with the customer to allay any concerns. For questions on the day of loading or discharge; our Loadmasters are always on hand to talk clients through technical plans.”
How do you secure a first-class service for your clients?
“Key to providing a first-class service is the supervision of each shipment from door to door. Alongside our 11 offices, we have a global network of partners and agents meaning we can ensure seamless operations and deliveries. Only the best partners and agents are chosen to maintain our high standards; we are very proud of the long-established relationships we have with shipping lines. We stay in continuous dialogue with suppliers and agents to ensure we can react quickly to market change and discuss the special requirements some shipments bring.”
What would you say was the most challenging shipment you have worked on?
“Sometimes yachts arrive for loading only for our Loadmasters to discover that the specifications given by the owners are incorrect. There was one occasion when we found that the weight of a certain yacht was heavier than had been disclosed. This meant we were unable to continue as planned to lift her with the ships cranes. She was due to be exhibiting at a boat show in the Mediterranean, so we needed to think fast. The yacht was lifted by a special mobile crane brought in from another port nearby. It’s situations like this demonstrates how important it is that we receive accurate specifications and we are therefore very particular when requesting details.”
Which sailing routes would you consider most popular?
“Our seasonal sailings from Northern Europe and the Mediterranean to the Caribbean and US have always been some of the most popular. In recent years we have seen new interest with shipments from and to the Baltic Sea, Far East and Australia. Many customers are now also coming to Peters & May with requests to ship to very unique places. Transporting yachts to these unusual destinations requires even more detailed planning and preparation and this is where our team’s experience is definitely a huge advantage! More often than not there will be someone in the team that has shipped a yacht to the particular destination and has a relationship with a good agent in the area.”
Do you have any highlights from your time at Peters & May?
“My biggest highlight was actually at the very beginning of my working life. I was assisting the Loadmasters at work. At 4am in the morning, working at a cold and windy port I was under the supervision of one of Peters & May’s Loadmasters. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding days I have experienced. It felt so good seeing the boats lifted to the deck and very satisfied customers leaving the port. It was that day that I knew I was in the right job! Now I enjoy meeting clients at events and boat shows – putting a face to a name is priceless.”
Have there been any changes over the last 10 years?
“The type and size of boats are changing. We are seeing an increase in larger yachts, catamarans and environmentally friendly yachts. Customers don’t seem to be buying yachts by brand anymore – they really want a yacht that can meet their personal and unique requirements. It doesn’t matter to them where the boat is. That’s where Peters & May come in. As time goes on, we also develop relationships with shipping lines and ports. This enables us to offer even more routes to clients.”
Where do you see things going in the future?
“Environmental factors will definitely play a role in the future. It’s things like the Sulphur Cap; due to be enforced in 2020 that will change the way we work. It’s positive that actions are being taken towards sustainability; however, as a result, our customers need to be prepared for increased fuel surcharges. It’s up to us to educate them on that. Another key development is the digitalisation of things, but it cannot be forgotten that shipping someone’s yacht is personal. Peters & May put a high emphasis on matching customers with the right team-member who has the required knowledge of their boat, routes, ports, language and destination.”
Working alongside our teams throughout the world Kristina will be at the forefront of ongoing change within the market. A true expert, she looks forward to working alongside existing and new clients on many a challenging, yet exciting shipment on the horizon.
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