Carnival Corporation cruise company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to explore the possibility of a joint venture aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the Chinese cruise industry, with a focus on building the first-ever cruise ships constructed in China.
China is expected to be one of the largest cruise markets in the world with 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT).
The MOU outlines the framework for exploration of a partnership between Carnival Corporation and the CSSC that includes the possibility of forming a shipbuilding joint venture that could become a three-way arrangement involving Fincantieri of Italy, the world’s largest cruise ship building company, in support of the Chinese government’s plans to grow the cruising industry in China and meet escalating demand for cruises from Chinese travellers.
In the past year, the Chinese Ministry of Transport has expressed its desire to transform China into a leading global cruise market, including investments in infrastructure and developing a strong domestic cruise presence to help spur growth in cruising as a key component of the expanding tourism industry in China.
The 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 in China.
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 to its fleet in China in April of next year, Carnival Corporation will have four ships homeported in China, growing the company’s market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China.
The MOU 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.