Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has signed on to work with Carnival Cruise Lines and China State Shipbuilding Corporation in exploring the possibility of joint ventures in cruise shipbuilding for the Chinese market, potentially to a three-way collaborative effort to build the first-ever cruise ships to be made in China.
In a statement Friday, Fincantieri announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both Carnival and CSSC, outlining the framework for evaluating and exploring a potential shipbuilding joint venture for constructing cruise ships for the Chinese market. Fincantieri says that, in particular, it will work with CSSC do develop cruise ship production capacity in China and provide specialized services and components to support CSSC’s shipyards. Carnival, for its part, will work closely with CSSC and Fincantieri and contribute its expertise to create the vision, definition, and specifications for the China-built cruise ships.
The agreement follows China’s emergence as a booming cruise ship market. The Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT) projects China to be the second largest global cruise market after the U.S. in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and growing demand for cruise vacations. The MOT even estimates that China could see 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020 and it is expected to eventually become the world’s largest cruise market.
“Building on our groundbreaking MOU signed with CSSC last month, this new agreement with Fincantieri gives us the opportunity to work with our longtime 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 CEO, Giuseppe Bono, said: “This agreement with Carnival, to which we are bound by a consolidated partnership, 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. 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. For this reason, our commitment must be ever-stronger in order to enable us to take advantage of such opportunities and continue to be an example of Italian style in the world”.
Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena in China in April of next year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China. Carnival Corporation is growing its leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015 and expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.