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Fincantieri: There is work, but not enough

Monfalcone - Fincantieri has for many years been a leading company in the cruise ship construction and now shares market leadership with German Meyer Werft

Monfalcone - Fincantieri has for many years been a leading company in the cruise ship construction and now shares market leadership with German Meyer Werft. Since the market has dropped in 2008 the struggle for new orders has grown more and more intense; however, in this difficult economic environment, Fincantieri continues to hold aloft its banner of “Made in Italy”. Fincantieri’s very aggressive and competitive trade policy has resulted in several orders, but the current status still lies far behind the golden age when production capacities at Italian shipyards were completely saturated. Now company management has to jump through hoops to secure work for all its plants and productive capacities, which particularly in the field of cruise ships, are far higher than the orders brought in (hence the need to make lay-offs in all plants). Let us summarize the current workload and future prospects of the group’s four shipyards involved in this sector. Its largest and most cutting-edge shipyard, that at Monfalcone, is currently engaged in the wharfside construction of the Regal Princess (142,700 GRT) which will be delivered to Princess Cruises next spring, while in the dry-dock construction continues of the Britannia (142,000 GRT) for P&O Cruises, whose completion is scheduled for the beginning of 2015. The Marghera shipyard’s dry-dock will remain empty for a few days.

In fact, the slot for the Costa Diadema (132,500 GRT), which will be delivered to Costa Cruises at the end of October 2014, will be occupied at the beginning of December by the first section of the Viking Star (47,800 GRT), the first historic ship commissioned by the new Viking Ocean Cruises brand, to be completed in late summer 2015. The Ancona shipyard, after constructing a few sections of the Viking Star, will build a fourth ship for Compagnie du Ponant, a mini-cruise ship of 11,000 GRT which will be ready in the spring of 2015. Finally, the Sestri Ponente shipyard, still awaiting seaward expansion, won the bid for the construction of the Seven Seas Explorer (54,000 GRT) which will be delivered to Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the summer of 2016. So those are the orders officially assigned to the company, but there are further current orders awaiting the allocation of a production site. Holland America Line’s new Pinnacle Class (99,000 GRT - February 2016 delivery) is expected to be assigned to the shipyard of Marghera, although a section of the hull had been reserved for Monfalcone - the latter should instead now build the new Carnival Vista (144,000 GRT) with a scheduled delivery to Carnival Cruise Lines of 2016.

Finally, the second “Viking” is expected to be born just like the first was in the Venetian shipyard: so far these are all “insider” rumours. Then, there are also the orders that still have to be finalised, such as two other “Viking” ships and a Letter of Intent for a new Seabourn unit. In such cases it is difficult to make predictions because the orders are not yet complete. Finally, it’s been rumoured for a while that Silversea is soon to order a ship similar to the Silver Spirit and in this case the contract would go to Ancona.

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