Meyer Turku Builds Big

Mein Schiff 5 float out. The cruise ship was delivered in June 2016. (Photo: Meyer Turku)

By Eric Haun

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News recently
visited Finnish shipbuilding giant Meyer Turku, whose sights are
set on building bigger.

It is safe to say that when shipbuilding commenced in the town of
Turku, Finland in 1737, the company building wooden boats at the
time could not have envisioned the enormous vessels that would
eventually be built by the site's current occupant, Meyer Turku.

The Meyer family, operator of the German shipbuilding company
Meyer Werft, took over the nearly 300-year-old Turku yard in
September 2014 together with the Finnish government (which
purchased 30 percent of the share capital through the Finnish
Industry Investment Ltd.). It was renamed Meyer Turku Oy, and the
company exercised an option to take complete control of the yard
in May 2015. Since the takeover, Meyer Turku has produced several
ships, including the 99,000+ GT ships Mein Schiff 4 and Mein
Schiff 6 for TUI Cruises, and most recently the dual-fuel cruise
ferry Megastar for Tallink delivered in January 2017.

Though the yard has the capability to produce other types of
vessels, Tapani Pulli, Deputy to the CEO, explained, "We are
purely in the cruise ship building market at the moment as its
growth has been stable and is also expected to continue to be

Meyer Turku, which together with sister shipyard Meyer Werft in
Papenburg, Germany, holds roughly one-third of the world's cruise
ship order book, is poised to build bigger as it fulfills its
order book stretching through 2024.

New builds produced at Meyer Turku will grow increasingly larger
in the coming years, with three 100,000-110,000 GT ships for TUI
for delivery through 2019; up to 180,000 GT for Carnival's four
ships due from 2019 to 2022; and then up again to an estimated
200,000-210,000 GT for two ships to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
in 2022 and 2024.

And with one slot open in early 2023, Pulli said large cruise
ships over 150,000 GT remain the builder's focus.

The ships for Carnival and RCCL are "the really big ones, the
ones that will start generating the growth in our future," he

"With this order book," Pulli said, "the growth will continue
above 300,000 GT per year from 2022, and this means a triple
employment effort compared to the last years."

This will require facility upgrades and a workforce increase at
Meyer Turku, which currently employs roughly 1,600, all of whom
are Finnish excluding management.

The yard's production ramp-up is also good news for its
surrounding subcontractors. "The domestic value of our product is
about 80 percent," Pulli said, "and of those companies who supply
cabins and interior areas almost all are Finnish."

In 2014 and 2015, the yard's full-time employment effect,
including the shipyard and network companies, was around 5,000

By 2021-2022, when the yard will be producing one large cruise
ship every eight months, the shipbuilder expects this number to
surpass 15,000.

"Our network will have to follow us and supply this growth
together with us," Pulli said.

Looking at the yard's current orders, another noteworthy trend is
the shift to dual fuel LNG-capable vessels from 2019, and then
further on the utilization of fuel cell technologies starting in

Not only are these technologies an answer to regulation changes
and customer demand, but also a selling point, part of Meyer
Turku's evolving competitive advantage, particularly against a
budding threat from potential cruise ship builders in Asia.

"We have been studying [the use of fuel cells] already for
awhile, and we have a very small test plant in one of the Viking
Line ships already running," Pulli said.

"We try to be a step or two ahead."

The Meyer Turk Order Book

Ship | Owner | Scheduled delivery | GT | LNG

Mein Schiff 6 | TUI Cruises | 2017 | 100,000 | No

New Mein Schiff 1 | TUI Cruises | 2018 | 110,000 | No

New Mein Schiff 2 | TUI Cruises | 2019 | 110,000 | No

Unnamed | Carnival | 2019 | 180,000 | Yes

Unnamed* | Carnival | 2020 | 180,000 | Yes

Unnamed | Carnival | 2021 | 180,000 | Yes

Unnamed* | Carnival | 2022 | 180,000 | Yes

Unnamed* | RCCL | 2022 | 200,000 (est.) | Yes + Fuel Cell

Unnamed* | RCCL | 2024 | 200,000 (est.) | Yes + Fuel Cell

*MOU only

Mar 7, 2017

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