Success story: Richardson Devine Marine

Staying afloat in export: Richardson Devine Marine

RDMHobart based ship-builder Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) has certainly not ‘missed the boat’ when it comes to exporting, having recently been announced winners of the 2009 Tasmanian Export Award.

This is much-deserved recognition for this innovative Tasmanian company following an outstanding year with three vessels delivered to export destinations. These were Premium Dream, a 32 metre fast ferry operating at Japan’s Ishigaki Island, Kilimanjaro, a 37 metre passenger ferry operating between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, Tanzania, and, Ipipiri, a 45 metre overnight cruise vessel (with cabins for 60 guests) that does luxury cruises in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

RDM is a specialised builder of lightweight aluminium vessels for commercial operators around the world. Their product line consists of passenger and tourist ferries, overnight cruise vessels and workboats varying in length from 22-46 metres. Their vessels feature high quality craftsmanship utilising the latest marine equipment and supplies, to provide innovative solutions to the customer's specific requirements.

Export success comes from a combination of sheer dedication, hard work and 21 years’ experience in boat-building of founders Ron Devine and Toby Richardson. That, plus a little help from the Austrade-administered Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme. RDM’s success in Tanzania and Japan in particular has been supported by a grant of over $40,000 under the scheme. The grant will help the company recoup some of the costs of exhibiting its vessels at overseas trade shows, visiting overseas markets and producing promotional materials.

"In a time of global recession and uncertain market conditions the EMDG scheme has and will continue to encourage us to visit overseas markets and attend more trade shows to generate interest in our products", said RDM Director, Toby Richardson.

So what’s next for RDM? RDM is currently nearing completion of a 28m vessel for the domestic oil and gas industry alongside another 37 metre catamaran passenger ferry bound for Tanzania. So enthused was the owner of Kilimanjaro when he arrived for the launch of his vessel in August 2009, he promptly ordered a sister ship. Kilimanjaro II will be launched in late April, 2010 and loaded aboard a freighter bound once again for Dar es Salaam.

RDM is also looking to new markets such as Singapore, Croatia, PNG, Nigeria, the UK and Eastern Europe. "Of course, not all of these projects will come to fruition”, explains Toby, “but with the financial assistance that the EMDG scheme offers, RDM is able to pursue each legitimate opportunity to the full and maximise our chances of securing the contract", he said.