April 5 ------ Apart from the ongoing health crisis caused by COVID-19, the cruise industry is currently also faced with an economic crisis. The entire industry and especially the cruise shipbuilding is now in a completely different situation than just a few weeks ago. Meyer Werft, one of the largest shipbuilders in the world which is based in Papenburg, Germany, is also feeling significant effects amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Our major concern was that our current and new customers would have to choose other shipyards because we would not be able to deliver vessels as required,” Imke Knoop, Head of Department Sales and Design at Meyer Werft, said. As informed, the conclusion of new shipbuilding contracts has been quite advanced so far. Meyer Werft’s orderbook is fixed until the end of 2023.
The cruise industry often experienced difficult times in the past, such as 11 September 2001 attacks, the international banking crisis in 2008 and the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012. The sector has recovered relatively quickly and achieved positive results following these events. Today, almost all cruise lines have halted their operations for one or two months. The market values of cruise lines decrease daily and the uncertainty is growing. Around eighty percent of the entire cruise market is served by major cruise corporations. They alone currently suffer losses in turnover of about EUR 100 million per day, according to Meyer Werft. “This current market development will also have a huge impact on our order books,” Knoop noted.
She explained that Meyer Werft’s clients will not be in the position to continue ordering ships to the same extent as before. “None of us can predict anything more precise yet, but the impact will be immense.” In order to be able to deliver ships on time and keep the economic damage as low as possible, Meyer Werft will have to maintain production as long as possible, Knoop pointed out. Unlike its German and Italian counterparts MV Werften, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) and Fincantieri, Meyer Werft has not stopped production at its facilities yet.