Cruise operator Carnival Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to form a joint venture to build cruise ships in China.
Carnival and CSSC will set-up a shipbuilding joint venture with Italy’s Fincantieri to build the first cruise ship in China. Carnival will share its ship design and shipbuilding capabilities for the China-built cruise ship.
The joint venture aims to benefit from the growing Chinese cruise ship industry, which is expected to have 4.5 million passengers by 2020.
The Chinese Ministry of Transport expects the country to become the second largest cruise market after US in future, riding on economic growth and rising incomes of people.
Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald: "This landmark agreement enables us to work closely with our partners at the CSSC to fully explore the possibility of forming a joint venture to further develop China into a leading cruise market, supporting local economic development and bringing vacation enjoyment to millions."
The agreement also open opportunities for the two companies to form joint ventures for a domestic cruise company, port development, talent development, training, supply chain and logistics.
Carnival expects to increase its market presence in China by 140% by 2015 with the expansion of its Costa Cruises fleet. In April next year, the operator will add the new Costa Serena to the existing fleet of Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess in China.
Carnival will have 220 port calls from five brands in China by this year, 15% of the total calls in Asia, the company said.
Image: Carnival will launch Costa Serena in China next year. Photo: courtesy of Carnival Corporation.