Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri and China State Shipbuilding (CSSC) have signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to extend their existing cooperation for cruise shipping to all segments of merchant shipbuilding.

The companies will now explore the possibility to extend their current collaboration to segments such as the oil and gas industry, cruise ferries, mega-yachts, special vessels, and steel infrastructures.

The extension is also expected to cover marine engineering and equipment procurement, as well as cruise cabins, interior decoration, and creation of a reliable supply chain in the Chinese cruise sector.

As part of the deal, Fincantieri and CSSC will explore the scope of additional cooperation opportunities to extend their current agreement to other areas.

Under the extended collaboration, Fincantieri and CSSC will form a six-member joint working group.

The group will comprise three members from each side. It is expected to complete a range of preliminary activities by the end of this year.

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“This agreement is further recognition of our decision to access the great potential represented by China.”

As mentioned in the extended collaboration, the activities will be conducted to identify potential opportunities for each of the areas and evaluate the market size.

The working group will identify a preferential sales channel and evaluate the scope for potential collaboration among CSSC and Fincantieri group companies or suppliers.

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said: “This agreement is further recognition of our decision to access the great potential represented by China.

“Acting as a first mover for the shipbuilding, today we are able to create new opportunities for small and medium-sized companies of our supply chain, through the successfully consolidation of the relations with the major groups of the Country in this sector, and, at the same time, to continue to do the same in the West, taking advantage of the cruise segment boom and maintaining the acquired leaderships.”

In February last year, Fincantieri, CSSC and Carnival entered a binding agreement to build two cruise ships at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) shipyard. The deal also includes an option for four additional ships.