Cruise Ship Building at SMM 2010: September 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cruise ship building will again be a prominent at SMM 2010, the 24th international shipbuilding fair at Hamburg Fair site from 7 to 10 September 2010. The big exhibitors will include the stands of Fincantieri, Meyer Werft and STX Europe. These shipbuilding companies in the cruise vessel segment are coming to the SMM 2010 with well filled order books. SMM 2010, 24th shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology international trade fair hamburg, showcases some 2,000 exhibitors from 60 nations.

In this most demanding segment of the shipbuilding industry, the yards had orders for a total of 25 cruise vessels with 2.15 million gt, worth USD 14.8 billion in their books at the beginning of April 2010, according to Seatrade Insider. They include the Celebrity Eclipse delivered by Meyer Werft in April and the Azura delivered by Fincantieri, also in April. Europe’s Big Three, that is Fincantieri, Meyer Werft and STX Europe, account for 20 newbuildings. The other five orders, all of them for smaller vessels, are split between the Italian cruise vessel and superyacht builder T. Mariotti (two newbuildings, each 32,000 gt); Irving Shipbuilding from Halifax, Canada (8,700 gt); Chesapeake Shipbuilding, USA (3,000 gt); and Factoria Naval de Marin, Spain.

The takeover of the Norwegian Aker Yards Group by Korean shipbuilding group STX undoubtedly means there will be transfer of know-how from STX Europe to the parent company. Sang-Ho Shin, who started his career at STX in 1980 and has been President & CEO of STX Europe since May 2009, has set out a clear objective – “We will become the leading builder of cruise and offshore vessels in the world. We realize that our goal can only be attained through the concerted efforts of STX's own resources - our people, our technology, processes and other resources.” At the end of last year, SHI announced that they intended to become the first Korean shipyard to start building cruise vessels. They said that this was at the same time the start of a new shipbuilding era in Korea, ending many years of European dominance in this segment. The Korean shipyard was selected by the US company Utopia to build an apartment cruise vessel for USD 1.1 billion. According to SHI, the deal is to be sealed in the first half of 2010. The ship is to be delivered in 2013.

And there are other Asian shipbuilding countries such as China and Japan which are aiming to build cruise vessels. Japan already has some experience of this area, with Diamond Princess and her sister ship Sapphire Princess built seven years ago at Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, belonging to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group. The client was Princess Cruises, a US company belonging to Carnival Corporation & plc, the biggest cruise company in the world. The cruise industry has remained relatively unaffected by the global downturn of the past year. At present the cruise fleet comprises 281 ships worldwide, according to Cruise Industry News, an SMM exhibitor, and there will be 17.8 million cruise passengers this year. In 2015 there will probably be 300 luxury cruisers and 20 million cruise holiday-makers, according to an estimate by Oivind Mathisen, Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Industry News. “The cruise industry is heading for growth all over the world,” he added. A large proportion of the growth in the next five years will be with passengers from Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific Region. But North America will still be the largest market.

Asia also wants to benefit from these growth rates. Thus in October 2009, Singapore started building an International Cruise Terminal, intended to double the country’s mooring capacity on completion at the end of 2011.

There are newcomers appearing on the scene alongside the current major players AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Crociere, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Line, etc. For example TUI Cruises, which acquired a cruise ship of its own for the first time last year – Mein Schiff. It is not a newbuilding, but was originally built by Meyer Werft as the Galaxy, and then fully converted and modernised at Lloyd Werft. And that is just the start. As Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises, declared, “We are planning to expand our fleet in the coming years.” Welcome words to the management boards of shipyards specialising in luxury cruise vessels.

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