Bellingham Marine Announces Australasia Transition Plan.
Newport Beach, CA, USA – 17 March 2021 – After 25 years of exemplary service, John Spragg, Bellingham Marine President of Australasia and the Middle East, has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2021. Following his retirement, he will continue to serve as a Director of the company. Bruce Birtwistle has been chosen as John’s successor. Bruce has worked directly for John over the last decade as the General Manager of New Zealand.
Ayia Nappa, Cyprus – 7 August 2020 – The long-held vision of Cypriot Gerry Caramondani, in partnership with Naguib Sawiris, a prominent investor from Egypt, has become a reality with the opening of a 600 slip marina, drystack and the arrival of the first boats in February 2020. Ayia Nappa Marina is approximately 45-minutes east of Larnaca International Airport and 70 minutes from Limassol. The marina is located near the Mediterranean resort town Ayia Nappa, a world-famous holiday destination known for its beaches on the southeast coast of Cyprus.
The marina, built by Bellingham Marine, features full-service finger berthing that provides greater access and ease of mooring for boats up to 30m as well as full-service berthing options for boats up to 65m. “This iconic marina will become the standard that other marinas in the Mediterranean aspire to meet,” says John Spragg, Bellingham Marine’s President of Australasia and the Middle East, “Once boaters use the finger mooring system, they will demand it elsewhere.”
Editor’s Note: Marina Dock Age magazine talked with Joe Ueberroth, owner and CEO of Bellingham Marine. Ueberroth’s investment firm Bellwether is also part owner of Dana Point Harbor Partners, the partnership that is redeveloping Dana Point Harbor in California. In the late 1990s, Ueberroth’s marina management company, BellPort Group, partnered with Nishida Tekko, the owner of Bellingham Marine, to develop and operate marinas in Japan. In 2006, Ueberroth bought Bellingham, through a public company that he was operating at that time. In 2009, his company Bellwether, bought all the Bellingham assets and privatized the company. Ueberroth has an extensive background in investments in a wide range of industries and businesses – from internet companies to hotels, greenhouses and riverboats. As an owner and entrepreneur, he has repeatedly learned, sometimes the hard way, that fundamentals in business do matter. His successes and failures have influenced his business strategy as a dock builder, marine contractor and marina developer. We talked with him about development trends for marinas, aggregation of the industry, the waterfront lifestyle and what all that means for his marina businesses.
Q: How would you describe your experience working internationally and how does that compare to U.S markets?
Ueberroth: The place I’ve had the most international experience is Japan, and in Japan, I quickly realized that there was so much lost in translation. I don’t speak Japanese. I didn’t understand their business environment and what’s important to them. Having great Japanese partners made all the difference.
Most often, the first thing we want to talk about in the U.S. is price. When you meet with a client about a project in Japan, they will say yes to your price for they want to focus on all aspects of quality. When I came to understand from my local partners that price was to be re-negotiated after all other aspects were completed, it removed the frustration from the negotiations.
My experience in Japan influenced how we have expanded Bellingham’s business internationally. We have a couple of plants that we own internationally, but they are all in English speaking countries. In countries where we don’t speak the language, we won’t understand their business. In places, like Korea, China, Japan, Dubai and Spain, we have a local partner.