Photo: Meyer Werft/NYK

Meyer Werft wins rare cruise ship order from Japan

Japanese cruise shipping company NYK Cruises, part of the NYK Group, has ordered an LNG-powered 51,950 GT cruise ship from German shipbuilder Meyer Werft.

Meyer Werft
Rendering of the new cruise ship. Photo: NYK/Meyer Werft

The order is said to be significant because no shipping company has placed a newbuilding order for a cruise ship since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Meyer Werft.

As informed, the newbuilding for NYK Cruises is scheduled for delivery in 2025. It will have a length of 228.86 meters, a width of 29.8 meters, and will be able to accommodate up to 744 passengers and up to 470 crew members.

Meyer Werft will install LNG propulsion on board the vessel. The builder is also implementing numerous customised solutions for the new order. These include hydrodynamics optimised in accordance with the planned routes as well as onboard facilities adapted to the needs of Japanese passengers and, as a result of the pandemic, also offering innovations to the air-conditioning systems and contactless controls.

Newbuilding order as an important step towards securing the location

The deal is said to be an important signal for Meyer Werft’s Papenburg site with the world’s largest covered building dock, even if the newbuilding is relatively small at 229 metres in length.

“It is another very important step towards securing the Papenburg site. New orders are absolutely necessary for our current programme for the future with enormously important savings and very many different measures,” Jan Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft, commented.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the shipbuilder implemented numerous measures to maintain the economic stability of the group. These included an investment freeze, a comprehensive savings package, the reduction of temporary employees and the instrument of short-time work. 

Simultaneously, negotiations were held with shipping companies to stretch the time of existing orders. This has prevented the cancellation of orders and redundancies.

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“The pandemic allows shipping companies all over the world to freely choose shipyard locations,” Imke Knoop, Head of Sales & Design, explained.

“The challenge is to survive with our combination of design, quality, innovation and, of course, under ever-increasing price pressure in the face of worldwide, sometimes heavily subsidised, competition. The order has come just in time; so far only one new building has been in our halls for 2025.”

Capacity utilisation to remain at a lower level?

“Of course we are delighted about the newbuilding order, but at the same time we have to push ahead with our future programme, continue to convert and optimise the shipyard so that we can also deliver the ship with economic success,” Thomas Weigend, Managing Director of Meyer Werft, said.

“Thanks to this order, we now also have a second ship in the works in 2025, namely a small and a large ship. But it remains the case that we still have a lot of work missing for the year 2025. Our production in Papenburg is designed for an annual construction volume of 420,000 GT, but the two ships in 2025 have a total volume of only 182,000 GT.”

“The current newbuilding order is not a turnaround from our difficult situation. In Papenburg we are designed for the series production of very large cruise ships,” Jan Meyer continued.

“Now we are building the prototype of a small ship without the option of sister ships. Therefore, it is to be classified as another step among many necessary measures.”