Award-winning boat manufacturer Maritimo may shed up to 100 jobs from its Gold Coast, Queensland facilities with its plans to move a major component of its boat building operations to the USA.
Maritimo CEO Bill Barry-Cotter said he was left with little choice due to the high Australian dollar and what he termed ‘an incompetent Federal Government.’
Mr Barry-Cotter is currently involved in negotiations with three US manufacturers and three US State Governments, all in the north of the country.
He said the preferred option was in the north east.
Asked when this would happen, he replied ‘Sooner, rather than later.'
He said manufacturing in the US had been under discussion for the past 18 months, not only due to the high Australian dollar, but other factors such as far more economical shipping costs.
'It costs only one-third what we pay here to ship a boat to Europe from the US,' he explained.
'The last three boats shipped out of Australia made no profit for the company at all,' he added.
Boats scheduled for US manufacture comprise the smaller models in the Maritimo range, namely those smaller than 50’ (15.24-metres) overall.
This will include the company’s most popular model, the Maritimo 48 as well as the 4400 and the smaller Cabriolet range.
The larger vessels, together with Maritimo’s Mustang range, will continue to be built on the Queensland Gold Coast.
News of Maritimo’s plans has already had an effect in the United States, with three prominent dealerships expressing interest in the US-built range.
While admitting the prospects of jobs lost in Australia, Mr Barry-Cotter said every effort would be made to keep losses to an absolute minimum.
Some Australian employees could find themselves working in the US, but American labour will be utilised in the main.
Mr Barry-Cotter said he was unable to reveal more of the plans in detail until discussions with various US State Government authorities had been completed.