Since April 2015, Meyer Turku assumed 100% ownership of the Finnish shipyard after taking a 70% ownership interest in September last year, with the Finnish state holding the balance. Having built cruise ships since 1970, Turku has gone through many different ownership constellations, but now appears to be on solid ground with the family-owned Meyer group, which can trace its shipbuilding history back to 1795. Together with shipyards in Papenburg and Rostock, the group’s orderbook counts 16 cruise ships, plus a ferry, a gas tanker and river cruise vessels.
Meyer Turku had six cruise ships and one fast ferry on its orderbook at press time, plus an option for another fast ferry, which CEO Jan Meyer told was close to full utilization of the yard until 2020. For Turku, the orderbook includes Mein Schiff 5 and 6 for deliveries in 2016 and 2017. Then follows Mein Schiff 7 and 8, for deliveries in 2018 and 2019.
Turku also has orders for two 180,000-ton, 5,200-passenger ships for Costa Crociere for deliveries in 2019 and 2020. (Carnival placed a similar order for two AIDA ships with Papenburg.) The new ships will be the first cruise ships to be powered by LNG both at sea and in port. They will have dual-fuel powerplants and LNG tanks onboard.
Commenting on the acquisition of Turku, Meyer said: “We have found a lot of passionate shipbuilders here, but the yard had some serious problems obtaining construction financing. It is a very good combination that we came here as a family company and long-term investor. We have been able to develop a very good working spirit that was reflected in the successful delivery of the Mein Schiff 4.”.
So far, the “new” Turku has not only become more attractive to shipowners, but also to new employees, according to Meyer. He said: “Turku now has a solid future. Shipbuilding tends to be seen as an old industry and it is, but we have to move with the times and be modern. And with a high-cost structure in Europe, we have to be absolutely at the forefront of technology and productivity. And that is what we are continuously working on.”
Efforts have also been undertaken to engage more Finnish marine industry suppliers.
“Newbuildings are very much a collaborative effort between the shipowner and the yard,” Meyer added. “We work with our customers, helping them develop their designs further and ensure that they are buildable and cost efficient.
“It is a big value driver from our side that we make an intelligent offer. In the end every cruise ship is a custom-made product, so it is important that we do not compete just on cost, but also on the value side.”