China will become a global centre for cruise ship building, according to plans outlined in a major new agreement.
The world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Corporation, has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fincantieri, the world’s biggest cruise ship construction company, with a view to creating a new ship-building joint venture in China.
Under the terms of the agreement, Carnival’s previous MoU with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) will now become a three-way arrangement, aimed at using Fincantieri’s expertise to help CSSC create cruise ships designed specifically for the Chinese market.
“Building on our groundbreaking MoU signed with CSSC last month, this new agreement with Fincantieri gives us the opportunity to work with our long-time partner to further explore a formal joint venture that could forever change the landscape of shipbuilding in China,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.
“After working diligently to get a deep understanding of China’s aggressive cruise ambitions, we’re collaborating with two of the world’s top shipbuilders in Fincantieri and CSSC to establish a framework for a world-class Chinese shipbuilding venture designed to help accelerate growth and demand for cruising in China in the years to come.”
Fincantieri’s recent major ship-building projects have included the 141,000-tonne Royal Princess and 130,000 Carnival Breeze. It is also now developing the huge 154,000-tonne Project Seaside vessels for MSC Cruises.
“This agreement with Carnival… and with CSSC testifies our determination in pursuing a strategy that increasingly establishes Fincantieri as a global and reference player in the sector, with strong presence in all the markets that can ensure a future in our business,” said the Italian ship-builder’s CEO, Giuseppe Bono.
“Indeed, new international scenarios are emerging, and with them new challenges arise in addition to existing ones, and we are glad to contribute together with Carnival to develop the cruise shipbuilding capacity in China for the Chinese market.”
According to China’s Ministry of Transport, the country could deliver up to 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020, making it the second biggest cruise market in the world after the US.
Carnival Corporation will homeport four ships in China in 2015, with the Costa Serena joining the Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess. The company expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.