Posted by: cruise2 | 11 April, 2010

Shipyards Anxious for New Orders

In recent years there have been four major cruise ship building yards in Italy (Fincantieri), France (Chantiers de l’Atlantique), Germany (Meyer Werft) and Finland (Aker), and two aspiring yards in Japan (Mitsubishi) and South Korea (STX). That was true at least until recently when STX took control of the majors in Finland and France by acquiring Aker Yards, which had also recently acquired control of the former Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

And two new entries, Samsung and Daewoo, who have both built overnight ferries, are now arriving from South Korea.

The past year or two, with the world financial crisis, has seen a lull until recently in orders for new cruise ships as the world adjusted to the new reality. Without new orders the shipyards will soon begin to lose their skilled workers. However, if they can hold on, there is no question that more new ships will be needed as the cruise market continues to grow worldwide. Literally dozens of new cruises ships will be required over the next few years.

For now, however, the world recession that has stopped new orders means that some shipyards may end up with empty berths.

Most successful so far in landing orders as confidence returns and orders re-commence is Fincantieri, which has already landed one order from Carnival Cruise Lines and two for a new design for Princess Cruises. Even prior to these orders, Fincantieri had work going forward, with four ships for delivery this year (Azura, Le Boréal, Nieuw Amsterdam and Queen Elizabeth), four more for 2011 (Carnival Magic, Costa Favolosa, L’Austral and Marina) and three for 2012 (orders for Compagnie du Ponant, Costa and Oceania’s Riviera).

Second most successful in getting new business, and most in need of the work, STX France has managed to obtain an order for a single ship from MSC Cruises. Parent company STX Europe, builder of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, has built or is now building the fifteen largest cruise ships in the world in its French and Finnish yards. Many of these were three series of large ships for Royal Caribbean, but they also include Norwegian Epic for NCL, RMS Queen Mary 2 for Cunard and several ships for MSC.

After STX completes Allure of the Seas, building in Finland, and Norwegian Epic, building in France, its cruise ship order books come to an end. It is no wonder then that the name of Nicolas Sarkozy came to the fore in the negotiation of the latest MSC order, as employment in the St Nazaire region depends heavily on STX France, in which the French still retain a large number of shares.

Meyer Werft, meanwhile, seems to be in reasonable shape. With only one delivery this year, next month’s Celebrity Eclipse, future orders nevertheless include three cruise ships for 2011 (one each for Aida, Celebrity and Disney) and three more for 2012, a direct repeat of the 2011 trio. Meyer Werft has been successful in the past with fill-in orders, building container ships between cruise ships, for example, but container ship tonnage is now in huge oversupply.

Another European yard, niche operator T Marriotti in Genoa, still has two orders yet for delivery, in Seabourn Sojourn this year and Seabourn Quest in 2011, but no orders beyond. Marriotti is at present converting Carnival Celebration into Grand Celebration for Carnival’s Spanish subsidiary Iberocruceros.

A recent order of interest, still at letter of intent stage, is the all-suite ship Utopia, for Utopia Residences of Beverly Hills, California. As well as 200 residences, which are selling for prices between $3.7 million and $26 million,  Utopia will feature a 206-suite Utopian Hotel, for those who wish just to take a cruise. The $1.1 billion Utopia, due for delivery in 2013, is being built by Samsung Heavy Industries, a shipyard that has not yet produced a cruise ship, although it has built a pair of new ferries for Stena Line. With experience from the Stena Line ferries and this 971-foot ship, Samsung will have the fitting out experience that will allow them to go after more cruise ship business.

As well as the Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC and Apollo groups, which will need dozens of new ships, there are two or three potential new entries into the newbuilding arena. A possible first order, because it has the largest fleet, may come from Louis Cruises of Cyprus, who is said to have been discussing a new design with South Korean builders Daewoo Shipbuilding. To carry around 2,000 passengers, the Louis ship would reportedly be for charter to a tour operator.

The main tour operator to whom Louis now has ships on charter is the UK’s Thomson Cruises, who is imminently to take over Costa Europa and Thomson Dream. Daewoo has gained passenger ship experience as it has built and is building a number of new ferries for Blue Star Ferries of Greece.

Others said to have been in play for possible newbuildings once economic conditions turn around include Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Saga Holidays in the UK and Phoenix Reisen in Germany. And no doubt others will appear.

Article courtesy of Mark Tre

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