Tsuneishi Shipbuilding is said to be planning to venture into the construction of cruise ships at its Chinese yard based in Zhejiang Province, Nikkei reports.
The construction of its first cruise ship is reportedly planned for early 2020.
As informed, the cruise ship would be above 200 meters in length and have the capacity for up to 800 passengers, and it would be built for an affiliate of the Tsuinesihi Holdings group.
This would be the first step in luring Chinese cruise companies to order ships domestically instead of turning to European yards which have dominated the sector so far.
The shipbuilder hopes to secure orders for larger ships with the capacity to accommodate several thousands of passengers.
According to Nikkei, in order to prepare for the project, the company is launching activities at the Zhejiang shipyard to boost its infrastructural capacity.
The move is being strategically planned as cruise shipping is experiencing an ever-growing popularity in Asia and China in particular.
In 2017, 66 cruise ships are being deployed in Asian waters, a 53 percent growth since 2013 when only 43 ships were cruising in Asia, a new report released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) finds.
A total of 3.1 million Asians took cruises in 2016, 55 percent more than in 2015, the report reads.
However, the growth in popularity of the emerging market needs to be accompanied by the equivalent development of various other supporting segments of the industry, including construction of cruise ships, which is currently in its infancy in China.
Development of local shipbuilding capabilities in the region has been singled out as a strategic investment opportunity and has seen various major industry players tap into the market’s potential.
For example, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has teamed up China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) for the construction of two cruise ships, the first cruise ships to be built in China.
The ships, which were announced at the beginning of this year, would be built for cruise liner giant Carnival.
They will be built for the Chinese market at the SWS yard, a facility of CSSC Group, with the first delivery expected in 2023.
The deal came on the back of a joint venture agreed between Fincantieri and China’s shipbuilding conglomerate CSSC aimed at developing and supporting the growth of the Chinese cruise industry.
World Maritime News Staff