According to Tapani Mylly, Meyer’s Communications Manager in Turku, the shipyard will be operating at full capacity until the mid-2020s. Like other builders of cruise ships, Meyer expects markets to expand in Asia – particularly in China – and everywhere else in the world.
“The number of passengers has been growing steadily for a long time and we anticipate the growth to continue in the future as well,” Mylly says.
In addition to the growth in passenger numbers, the markets will continue to need new cruise ships as the oldest and smallest ships are decommissioned. The types of vessels will also change as environmental and efficiency requirements become stricter.
“Ship sizes do not necessarily grow that much from the current 180, 000 – 200, 000 GT level. In addition to these large cruise ships there is more demand for smaller craft, for example expedition cruisers.,” Mylly says.
Orders for cruise vessels will also change, and ship owners will offer different services to different customer groups at very different prices. The market for cruise vessels offering expensive, high-quality trips will grow.
Environmental friendliness is an expanding part of design and construction of cruise ships. Shipyards and ship owners are subject to growing requirements for environmental friendliness and efficiency when ships are designed and built. Energy consumption is becoming increasingly important. Tapani Mylly emphasizes new fuel alternatives, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG). Meyer’s Turku shipyard is building cruise vessels that run on LNG.
“Cruise passengers are increasingly aware of environmental factors, such as citizens’ carbon footprints, and this will pile the pressure on the marine industry.”
Tapani Mylly thinks that the competitive factors driving Finnish shipbuilding are solutions that take account of energy efficiency and the environment.
“ The environmental sector needs to take a leaps forward and we are ready to take them. For example, the MeinSchiff cruise vessel, which was built in Turku, is 10 per cent more energy efficient than her sister vessel, which was built one year previously,” Mylly says.
He says that better efficiency is the sum of several small things rather than one large factor. Cruise ships are like small towns or floating hotels, so they need a lot of air conditioning. For this reason, the energy efficiency solutions in the most recent MeinSchiff focused on factors such as more efficient air conditioning.
Designing ships – particularly complex cruise vessels – is a long and intricate process. Meyer Turku does most of the initial phase design, in concept design and basic design on it’s own. The client – the shipping company –has its own architecture in mind for the main aspects of the ship, such as the number of cabins and the main engines.
Meyer Turku’s list of registered suppliers contains over 1,000 companies in various countries.
“The rule of thumb is that as the project progresses further, the share of turnkey suppliers also increases in the area of design. This is particularly true of the indoor spaces, for which design services are often bought in,” Mylly says.
The target is naturally that both the shipyard and the subcontractors can make a profit from their deliveries. Approximately 900 different companies are involved in building a cruise ship, and Meyer Turku’s list of registered suppliers is even longer: it contains well over 1,000 companies in various countries.
Cabin modules made by a subsidiary
Meyer Turku subsidiary, cabin factory Piikkio Works, manufactures all the cabins to Meyr Turku ships. Piikkiö Works has been operating for three decades and it employs well over 100 professionals in the area of cabin building.
As stated previously, Meyer Turku is a fixture in the future plans of Meyer family The family’s confidence is reflected in its ongoing investment of EUR 200 million in making Turku an ultra-modern shipyard unit on an international scale.
“We expect to conclude the current investments by the end of 2019,” Tapani Mylly says.
According to him, the journey has not been all plain sailing. One difficulty has been recruiting expert workers. The industry is international, so Meyer Turku has to compete with many other companies and industries for designers and other experts.
“We have a couple of thousand employees and, every year, we recruit a couple of hundred new people. We also need foreign workers, as they often have exactly the types of skills that are lacking in Finland,” Mylly says.
The high standard of expertise expected of new recruits is demonstrated by the fact that Meyer Turku is constantly looking for more people with master’s degrees in engineering and project managing experts. According to Mylly, the shipyard’s subcontractors are facing the same challenges.
Meyer Turku: order book
Year of completion, ship, client, gross tonnage
Costa Smeralda, Costa Cruises (Costa 1), ~180,000 GT
Carnival Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Lines (Carnival 1), ~180,000 GT
Costa 2, ~180,000 GT
Carnival 2, ~180,000 GT
Icon 1, Royal Caribbean, ~200,000 GT
Mein Schiff 7, TUI Cruises, 110,000 GT
Icon 2, Royal Caribbean, ~200,000 GT