Shipyards: business development, marketing, sales


Is anyone here familiar with how shipyards do marketing and sales? Aside from their regulars, how do they find new customers?

Where do they search for vessels that may need their particular services?
How much time in advance do they need to get in touch with a ship manager?
How do they know which vessels have higher potential of needing their services?


As far as I know, many have established customers & do not engage too much in new outreach or sales type activity. It may be worth looking at Shipyard Agencies, who are building the bridge between the vessel in need of repairs and the shipyard. I presume they do more active outreach directly to vessels.

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Hi Aydin, mostly they do business with based on established relationship with their clients. They can also attend it industry events, the main one is Trusteddocks.
They also use ship tracking websites or services to monitor vessel movements and identify those entering or leaving nearby ports.

In the shipyard business, especially in more traditional circles, it’s often less about flashy marketing and more about reliability and word-of-mouth. Shipyards often get new customers through:

  • Reputation: Doing good work means ships leave the yard and sail around the world, showcasing the quality of the work done.
  • Relationships: Having coffee, attending maritime events, or simply catching up with old clients and their networks can sometimes bring in more business than an ad campaign.
  • Location: Being in a strategic location where vessels commonly pass by or dock can naturally bring in business without much effort.For instance, Istanbul can be one example where there are more than 40 Shipyards those are specializing in different types of repairs.
  • Specialization: If a shipyard specializes in certain types of repairs, builds, or has unique facilities, that news travels fast in tight-knit maritime circles.
  • Agents: Having a good network of agents (especially Shipyard Agents) who are always on the lookout for business opportunities can also bring in new clients.