Thursday, 16 October 2014

Carnival moves toward shipbuilding in China

Carnival moves toward shipbuilding in China

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Corp. said it signed a memorandum of understanding that could lead to a cruise ship being built in China.

The memo is an agreement between Carnival Corp. and the China State Shipbuilding Corp. (CSSC) to explore the formation of a joint venture.

The goal of the venture would be to construct a modern cruise ship in China together.

China State Shipbuilding Corp. is the largest shipbuilder in China, according to a Carnival Corp. announcement.

The Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri could partner in the joint venture should it be formed, Carnival Corp. said.

There is no firm agreement to build yet, nor is it clear who would own or operate any ship that results from the joint effort.

Carnival Corp. said the venture is "aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the Chinese cruise industry."

The agreement was made official at an Oct. 14 signing ceremony at the ninth China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo in Tianjin.

"This really is a breakthrough day for all of us at Carnival as well as our friends at the CSSC," Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said.

Carnival Corp. said its contribution to the venture would be to use its design and shipbuilding expertise to create the "vision, definition and overall specifications" for the China-built cruise ship.

The memorandum also includes the exploration of other possible joint venture opportunities with CSSC including the potential to form a domestic cruise company, port development, talent development and training as well as supply chain and logistics, Carnival Corp. said.

No major cruise line has ever built a ship in China, although a few have been built in Japan.

A Chinese Ministry of Transport forecast estimates there will be 4.5 million cruise passengers sourced in China by 2020.

Two Carnival Corp. brands, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, are already selling cruises in China. Carnival said it will have 220 port calls from five brands in China in 2014.