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June 1, 2017

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Home-built cruise liners to tap demand

CHINA’S first domestically built cruise ship will begin sailing from Shanghai in 2023, with another five cruise liners to be delivered through 2028, officials said yesterday.

The first domestically-made cruise liner will be a 133,500-ton vessel, considered medium size compared with the world’s major luxury liners. The 323-meter-long ship will have 2,000 rooms and can serve about 5,000 passengers, said Wu Qiang, president of China State Shipbuilding Corp, the nation’s largest shipbuilder, at a workshop on the “Belt and Road” Initiative in Baoshan District. It will be assembled at Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao port in the Pudong New Area.

“Building a cruise ship is more complicated than developing an aircraft carrier. It is like building a floating city with mega-systems, mass infrastructure and entertainment facilities,” Wu said.

Another five home-developed cruise liners will be delivered, one each year, through 2028, Wu said.

To realize the goal, CSSC yesterday signed a letter of intent with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and Baoshan District government to create a cruise ship industrial park in the city’s northern district.

The deal will see the three parties create the industrial park dedicated to shipbuilding and maritime engineering.

Fincantieri and CSSC will promote the park in their supply chain network and attract companies to particpate in the shipbuilding project.

“Fincantieri will bring its international suppliers to the industrial park along with personnel,” Fabrizio Ferri, CEO of Fincantieri China, said on the sideline of the workshop.

Under a previous memorandum of agreement finalized in February in Beijing, a joint venture between Carnival, Fincantieri and CSSC will build two new vessels in China, with options for an additional four.

Baoshan District government has invested 800 million yuan (US$117 million) to expand its docks along the Yangtze River to allow four cruise liners be able to berth at the port simultaneously by the end of the year, it said yesterday.

Baoshan is the largest cruise terminal and home port in Asia and sailed past Barcelona last year to rank fourth globally. Its Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal received 471 cruise ships in 2016.


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