Cruise ship builder Meyer faces challenges

29 Dec 2012
Last AIDA from challenged Meyer?

Last AIDA from challenged Meyer?

Meyer Werft head Bernard Meyer says Germany’s premier cruise ship builder faces big challenges and only by cutting costs and increasing productivity can it hope to master them, writes Tom Todd.

 In end-of-year comments, Meyer said the market situation in shipbuilding was getting ever more difficult and that there was no sign of improvement for the moment. “Because of gigantic over-capacity in shipbuilding, newbuilding prices have plummeted and continue to drop. The yard must now confront this big challenge and this involves a consistent reduction of costs and a continuous increase in productivity”, he said. 

Only in this way, he added, could Meyer with its two production facilities in Papenburg and at Neptun in Rostock-Warnemuende, hope to continue its current success. And he stressed that with six ocean cruise ships, 19 river cruise ships and a research ship to build over the next few years “our two yards have a good chance of getting through this difficult crisis in shipbuilding”.

Bernard Meyer has long warned of the threat to European cruise ship newbuilding from Asia and the Far East. That has been pointed up of late by Carnival’s orders with Japan’s MHI for two 125,000gt ships. For delivery 2015/16, they will be the biggest to date for German subsidiary AIDA Cruises, long a Meyer customer. AIDA’s seventh, and presumably now its last ship from Meyer is for handover in March.

A senior German shipbuilding source, in comments to The Motorship on the drain of European cruise ship newbuilding to Asia, said Carnival was ordering a further four ships from MHI making a series of six in all. “A shipyard like Meyer in Papenburg cannot keep pace with that kind of development long-term”, he said.

The source added that the future of German shipyards in general was “a cause for grave concern” and that 2013 promised to be bleak. 

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