Quick Q&A: Jamie Edmiston on working through the corona-crisis

Written by Laura Nicholls

The brokerage market is the part of our industry that is naturally most reactive to world events. Those working in this sector have to swiftly navigate through difficult times in order to survive. Therefore, it is important to hear from the leaders in the brokerage world not just to share their insights on the current global pandemic, but to help educate those who are not so familiar with the work of brokers. Here, the CEO of Edmiston, Jamie Edmiston, shares his observations on how business is reacting to the global pandemic.Jamie EdmistonPhoto: Edmiston Do you think the position of the broker is sometimes misunderstood by clients and the rest of the industry? 

The people who think the brokers earn too much, very often don't really understand what we do. I know that it's easy for brokers to get a bad rap, but good brokers have to work very hard and often won't earn anything. Happy owners are the ones who understand what the broker does and how they add value.Maltese Falcon yacht by Perini Navi in MonacoPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesWhat kind of developments has there been at Edmiston over the past few months?

The majority of my time has been working with our brokerage team to either cancel or postpone charters, which is in some respects more complicated than actually booking charters. In the last three weeks or so we have seen an increased interest in chartering yachts, but the biggest challenge we all face is the lack of clarity about where people can travel and when areas are opening up. For example, Croatia is probably the first cruising ground to open up but there are some challenges with whether certain nationalities can fly in and out and what testing needs to take place. It is good to share that we definitely have enquiries from clients, particularly clients from the United States who would like to charter. Yachts at Monaco Yacht Show 2019Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesHave you found that contracts include enough guidance on how best to deal with the current situation?

The MYBA contract, I think is a very good contract fundamentally, but it probably wasn't written with a global pandemic in mind. I think there are elements of the MYBA contract which will probably need to be thought about with input from brokers. Brokers are often misunderstood, and they invariably do an enormous amount of work to put contracts together and even more to unravel them. As we move forward, we need to consider how a contract can make sure that all parties are protected.Nirvana and Aquarius yacht in AntibesPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesHave you noticed any similarities in the charter enquiries you are receiving? 

Overall I see that people are waiting to see what happens. There is definitely interest but people are cautious to make a booking until we can give a degree of certainty as to whether they can travel or not. We are looking at a long lead time because the business we booked this year, we've rolled over to next year which effectively squashes two years’ worth of charters into one. That is a challenge that is going to be faced right across this industry. Aquarius yacht at anchor off Porto Cervo Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesWhat is your opinion on the status of the upcoming yacht shows? 

I think we can all agree that the Monaco Yacht Show is the best show in the world. They've done a fantastic job, but there have been some questions which have been sitting in the background for a while. This year, logistically it's going to be incredibly challenging to do any kind of yacht show and so, maybe this is the year for us to all take stock and work together within the industry. What has been interesting as of late is how the industry has pulled together. Yes, we're all rivals in many respects, but we've all worked with each other and can do so with the organisers to agree on what is going to happen for the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show. We all want the yacht show to be a success. I think it is not the right year to try and make it happen and rather than having a diminished product this year, I would suggest drawing a line under it and come back bigger, better and stronger in 2021. 

This interview was part of the 13th SuperYacht Times Webinar. If you missed out, catch up via the video found below. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found here.



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