Italian shipbuilder eyes development of Chinese cruise industry

2014-11-22 04:45:16 GMT2014-11-22 12:45:16(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
The Sapphire Princess of Carnival Corp & Plc sails in Shanghai's Wusongkou Harbor. International cruise companies have increased their investments in China since 2013 by doubling the number of cruise ships and increasing the routes and frequency of sailings. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists taking cruises was up more than 50 percent. [Photo/China Daily]The Sapphire Princess of Carnival Corp & Plc sails in Shanghai's Wusongkou Harbor. International cruise companies have increased their investments in China since 2013 by doubling the number of cruise ships and increasing the routes and frequency of sailings. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists taking cruises was up more than 50 percent. [Photo/China Daily]

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is exploring the possibility of joint ventures in cruise shipbuilding for the Chinese market, a statement from the group said on Friday.

Fincantieri teamed up with Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise line based in the United States and England, and with China CSSC Holdings Limited, a division of Beijing-based China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

"This would be an unprecedented, three-way collaborative effort to build the first-ever cruise ships to be made in China," the statement said. Memorandums of understanding were signed in China's Hong Kong by representatives of the three parties, Xinhua learned from Fincantieri.

If the agreement goes through, Fincantieri would work with CSSC to develop the production capacity of cruise ships in China. The Italian group, with its experience as one of the world's largest shipyards, would provide specialized services and components to CSSC's shipyards.

For its part, Carnival Corporation would work closely with China CSSC Holdings Limited and Fincantieri and contribute its expertise to creating the vision, definition, and specifications for the China-built cruise ships, the statement explained.

China could see 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT), and is expected to be the second largest global cruise market after the United States in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and growing demand for cruise vacations, the statement noted.

"New international scenarios are emerging; with them, new challenges arise in addition to existing ones and we are glad to contribute, together with Carnival, to developing the cruise shipbuilding capacity in China for the Chinese market," Fincantieri's CEO Giuseppe Bono said.

"We are collaborating with two of the world's top shipbuilders 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," Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, added.

State-owned Fincantieri is one of the world's largest shipbuilding groups, which in over 200 years of maritime history has built more than 7,000 vessels. It is the world leader in cruise ship construction and boasts strong performance in other sectors, from high value-added naval vessels to mega-yachts.

With its headquarters in the northern city of Trieste, the group has more than 20,000 employees and 21 shipyards on four continents. Last year, Fincantieri acquired VARD, a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange that builds offshore support vessels for oil and gas extraction and production.

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