Kashief Schroeder, owner, and co-founder of Container Intermodal Trading CC (CIT)

Kashief Schroeder, owner, and co-founder of Container Intermodal Trading CC (CIT) explains how expensive yachts get transported around the globe.These vessels are the ultimate plaything for the world’s super-rich and a visible symbol of wealth. About 8 000 exist in the world today, with prices starting at an eye-watering R10 million upwards, depending on their size, year, and model. 

Several of these seafaring toys are built right here in South Africa, which is great news for the local economy, but transporting the finished product around the globe is proving quite the logistics challenge. 

Whether via land or over the sea, moving a yacht from A to B unsurprisingly requires a wealth of preparation, and the biggest challenge starts with finding the right container, which can sometimes take weeks or months to locate. Yacht ownership is definitely not for the impatient.

 Top 5 Steps to Consider When Transporting A Yacht 

Step 1 – Sourcing the container

Due to their larger than average length, width, and height, a yacht requires a specialist container, usually with an open-top, which in South Africa is typically used by the mining sector. Yet sourcing a discarded one is not an easy feat, especially in the winter months when the mining sector takes a break and so container stock is even lower. Hard to find but certainly not impossible. 

Step 2 – Appointing the agent 

Once a suitable container is eventually found, the onus is then on the yacht owner, or their chosen agent, to commence the administration process. This usually includes them contacting the shipping line to check if they can use their equipment for transportation. 

Step 3 – Getting the container inspected and certified 

A really important component of the process is having the yacht owner physically inspect the container and confirm that it is structurally sound and seaworthy. If the owner is abroad, or inexperienced in this field, a qualified surveyor can be appointed on their behalf, who can competently issue a certificate confirming their approval to the shipping line. Only then can the owner confirm their container booking. 

Step 4 – Loading the yacht on the container  

It is important to select an experienced container brokerage company that can offer the yacht owner a reliable service to ensure that the container, along with the required mashing and strapping, is delivered directly to the owner’s chosen location no more than four days after purchase confirmation. 

Step 5 – Leave it to the professionals  

Also, it is recommended that the client request a specialist and experienced container representative to do all the necessary checkpoints such as ensuring that the vessel is correctly fastened onto the container for secure transportation and that the owner has the right insurance in place to cover all and any potential risks and losses. 

It is a rich man’s world after all… 

The lyrics to ABBA’s famous song couldn’t be more relevant in this industry. In general, the costs associated with transporting a large and expensive vessel like a yacht vary considerably and are dependent on several factors including the size of the vessel, its original location and planned destination, the availability of containers, and even the time of year. 

Whichever way you look at it, this is an exceptionally costly exercise, with a six metre, open-top container costing anything upwards of R100,000 (excluding VAT), and a 12-metre open-top container can set you back more than a quarter of a million Rands. 

Going strong

In its fifteen years of operating in this industry, CIT has noticed a significant change in the specialist container market, both locally and internationally.  The likes of Brexit and the pandemic, coupled with a weakening Rand, have pushed up prices even further, but escalating costs by no means inhibit the affluent, especially those living in Johannesburg, Africa’s richest city.   

Despite being in the depth of a crippling pandemic, CIT completed two yacht transportation in 2020, and another one in 2021 and 2022 looks to be even more promising. 


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