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From Small Boat Start-Up To Marine Mainstay Al Marakeb Rules The Waves

UAE boat builder success helps keep regional ocean craft sector afloat

Since commencing operations in 2007, the Sharjah-based company, Al Marakeb, is now responsible for creating hundreds of thousands of dirhams worth of vessel supply orders, occupying a position of mainstay in the regional marine industry.

Since commencing operations in 2007, the Sharjah-based company, Al Marakeb, is now responsible for creating hundreds of thousands of dirhams worth of vessel supply orders, occupying a position of mainstay in the regional marine industry.

“Al Marakeb’s year-on-year growth is an incredible achievement and it reflects on a thriving industry that we are proud to be part of,” said Basel Shuhaiber, Founder and Managing Director, Al Marakeb. “We are responsible for ensuring that the order books of our suppliers remain full and this has played a huge role in contributing to sustaining the region’s craft industry,” he added.

In 2013, Al Marakeb procured products from engine suppliers worth in excess of AED 2,000,000, with orders of fibreglass raw material totalling of over AED 1,000,000 for the same year. Additional marine orders placed by the company over the twelve month period were valued at another AED 1,000,000. The importance of the organisation’s role in the market place is also emphasised by its standing as the one of the biggest account holders for outboard engines with certain outboard brands – a position it held throughout and 2013 and which it has so far retained this year. 

“Our relationship with Al Marakeb is one that has grown over the past seven years and we are delighted to have played a role in the organisation’s success, particularly as they are a local manufacturer,” said Adil Ballour- Product Manager, Evinrude Outboard Motors. “Last year, Al Marakeb became a prominent customer for our outboard motors, and their continuing expansion has had a positive correlation on our engine sales, in keeping with the demand from their boatyard,” he added.      

In addition to keeping supplier order books full, Al Marakeb says that it contributes to the industry by creating extra exposure for tertiary organisations through using their products as part of their basic package. It means that their wares are endorsed as being reliable for use in the company’s standard vessels, of which it sells 50-60 each year. 

Supporting Al Marakeb’s boat portfolio is its new retail outlet for customers, which sells specialist nautical and marine equipment. Al Marakeb includes third party products as additional options that can be added to personalise each craft and if the supplier has a catalogue of its marine products available, the company provides these to its customers, further increasing exposure and leading to potential sales. On display in the outlet are fishing and diving equipment, electronics such as radar, GPS and sound systems; parts, including winches, pumps and filters, and smaller fixtures and fittings, such as cup holders, fish rod holders, ladders, hand showers and lights. 

It’s not just suppliers that Al Marakeb says benefit from its operations, with the company keen to point out that it actively supports marine activity service providers through its range of personalised options. They are of the few boat builders that field a specialist design team who can supply the customer what they need on the spot. Al Marakeb’s support extends to offering convenient payment plans, which allows small organisations to be comfortable buying several vessels in order to run their businesses well.

“We are a big supporter of charter companies, providing off-shore charter organisations with the boats they like at the price that is best suitable for them,” said Shuhaiber. “Our key is to consult with them about what to buy based on the service they are trying to sell. The advantage with this face-to-face interaction is that the end user takes delivery of the boat best suited for their specific type of business, whether this is diving, fishing or water sports. In 2013, we had nine charter companies buy our boats, including Sky and Sea Adventures, Happy Days Dubai and Desert Star Tourism. All of these clients are doing very well indeed,” he added.

“What particularly impressed us with Al Marakeb was the level of personal service we received – they seemed to know exactly the requirements for our charter business and advised us on the basic specifications we should go for, as well as the optional extras we would need to enhance our operations,” said Wassim Hachem, managing partner of Happy Days Dubai. “They were also able to offer attractive in-house financing that meant we could take delivery of two of their crafts, which was something we hadn’t originally planned for but which really helped our business get off the ground,” he added. 

Al Marakeb’s current product line-up comprises the Dino 31, Spartan 25, Triton 35, Habbar 25 fishing boat and Scylla 35 cabin cruising vessel. The company supplies its vessels to private and commercial buyers in the regional and international markets, with its current network extending across the GCC, North Africa and Asia. 

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