A Chinese shipyard has won a cruise ship order for the first time. The nation’s shipbuilding industry that has been in a slump due to the global downturn is now turning its attention toward rapidly growing cruise boat market as a way to overcome the current situation.
According to the Wall Street Journal on February 24, China State Shipbuilding Corp. received an order, jointly with Italy’s Fincantieri SpA, to build two cruise boats worth US$1.5 billion from Carnival Cruise Line of the United States. The boats will be delivered by 2023.
Under the terms of the contract, the state-run shipyard secured an option to build four more ships for the cruise line operator. China State Shipbuilding will build the ships by establishing a 60:40 joint venture with Fincantieri.
Cruise ships have fast emerged as a niche market in the slow global shipbuilding market. The number of new ship orders fell 70 percent last year from the previous year while about a half of the new orders consisted of cruise ships. Although Chinese shipbuilders have been No. 1 in the overall ship order receipt numbers, they were unable to build cruise boats due to lack of required capabilities. China State Shipbuilding will get technology transfer from Fincantieri through the joint venture.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the main reason the Italian shipyard joined hands with the Chinese shipbuilder is the rapidly growing cruise tourism market in China. According to the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association, the number of Chinese nationals who were on board a cruise ship in 2015 was 2.22 million, up 50 percent from the previous year.
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