Aashim Mongia: Founder Member
APSA: When did you join APSA, and why?
Aashim Mongia: I was one of the 45 Founding Members and been a member ever since. The reason I joined APSA was that we had all been meeting at the Singapore Boat Show and Conferences over several years, and decided that if Asia was to grow then an Asia-Pacific Superyacht Association made perfect sense.
APSA: What led you to work in the Superyacht industry, and how has your business evolved in recent years?
Aashim Mongia: I have been involved with boats all my life, and I am a qualified yachtsman. After a short stint in the Indian navy, I started my own marine business in yacht management and boatyard repairs that saw great success and has developed into one of India’s leading international marine authorities.
A few years back I was also the Commodore of Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC), one of the oldest yacht Clubs in world. RBYC Is a member oriented private yacht club and has contributed immensely to the growth of sport of sailing and leisure sailing in India and continuous to do so. I was awarded the Arjuna Award for the sport of yachting by the Government of India, having represented the country at various Asian Games and World Championships, winning several medals.
In the early years we had yachts visiting India and in 2000/2001 December/January period, we had a motor yacht called Princess Valentina that visited, and the only brief we had from the owner was to “Amuse Me”. We pulled out all the stops and showed him India with its rich history of sea forts, the interior hinterland of complex ruler’s overs the centuries and then finally the back waters of Kerala Gods own country and he was blown away. He came back a second time to marry his wife like royalty, and we had a wedding for him as a typical “Big Indian Wedding “This tweaked our interest in managing superyachts and their owners and we have not looked back since.
APSA: What is the focus of your work and experience in the superyacht industry?
Aashim Mongia: West Coast Marine Yacht Services Ltd is now in its 27th year of business and has evolved into a fully integrated pleasure boating business with Marina development, commercial passenger ferry and port management.
The pleasure boating business has not seen much growth since year 2011, however the water front development, water borne tourism activities, marina development, national waterways development and other such associated area has provided opportunities for the companies to diversify. We have been able to work in all these area as we have well qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable human capital. Although it has been slow growth for the boating industry’s we have been able to capitalise and take advantages of the opportunities. Today we are 175 employees in West Coast Marine and another 70 employees in the business we have invested in. By developing the waterfronts, we are kick starting the yachting cycle, as they say “if you build destinations and yachts will come”. We have used our skill set to become leaders in the waterfront development program in India and this will allow us to bring superyachts to India for work and pleasure. This year we had two superyachts in India for refit work so the above approach seems to be working.
APSA: What area of the superyacht industry has been your speciality?
Aashim Mongia: I am the Chairman of The Indian Marine Federation (IMF) is the body representing leisure boating industry in India. Formed in November 2004 with the objective of promoting a spirit of cooperation and goodwill among the marine dealers and to assist in maintaining a proper standard of ethics and practice of marine merchandising, its involvement into various events, economic affairs concerning the industry and its social obligations.
Over the years, I have been invited as a speaker at various national and international yachting and ICOMIA World Marina Conference forums, and I currently serve as the President of the IMF (The Indian Marine Federation). We have had a lot of success in the management and refit side of the superyacht business and now we are looking at chartering which is picking up as well.
APSA: What interests to you have outside of the yachting industry?
Aashim Mongia: Being a keen sailor and yachtsman I have travelled the world. I have also been dabbling in the hospitality business and partnered with an old school friend who is in the restaurant and hospitality business. This has been a game changer as we have been able to develop a skill set which has allowed us to dove tail this into our ferry business and the waterfront development business.
APSA: Where are you based now, and what do you enjoy about India?
Aashim Mongia: I am based out of Mumbai. India has amazing coast line, great history, cultures, monuments, cuisine, customs, traditions and above all is very visitor friendly people. We have a story to tell at every corner and some piece of history, tradition, food, and culture awaits you. That is why we call it ‘Incredible India’.
APSA: What is your Business/Management style?
Aashim Mongia: I have very hands off way of management, more laissez-faire management style. I believe in delegating responsibility and allowing the team to find creativity to get the job done. But I am always on hand if needed to guide the process as required.
APSA: What is your vision for APSA?
Aashim Mongia: Many great yachts have visited India, with government support much more can be done in this area as this is one area which brings direct Forex earnings for all those who provide support services to visiting yacht. That includes, ports, yacht agents, car hire companies, laundry, fresh and dry provision suppliers, hotels and resorts, and tourism companies, the list is very long. With APSA working as a collective I see the possibilities of what can be achieved, and the changes that can be brought to the Indian Ocean region as well.