Strong demand for cruise ships and passenger ferries brings orders to the Finnish maritime companies
Finnish business newspaper Kauppalehti interviewed Ulla Lainio, Director of Finpro's Maritime and Offshore program, about the exciting outlook for the Finnish maritime companies in an article published on 25 November 2016. According to Lainio, the Finnish maritime companies are well placed for further export growth over the next ten years thanks to the historically high level of demand for cruise ships and passenger ferries. In 2010-2014, the cluster's turnover increased by 23% to EUR 7.9 billion and about 90% of its products and services already go for export.
Orders for new cruise ships have increased from 25 a few years ago to the current figure of 67, which does not include options, letters of intent and repeat orders for new vessels. There are also many ROPAX and RORO vessels, tankers and icebreakers under construction. Altogether, there are now orders for almost 4000 new vessels worth almost EUR 10 billion.
The order books of the STX shipyard in France reach until 2026 and Meyer Turku shipyard also has orders until 2024. In Finland, there are currently 11 vessels being built in Turku, Helsinki and Rauma. Finnish companies are also involved in the construction of almost 200 vessels around the world. German, Norwegian and Chinese cruise ship builders are also playing a bigger role in the market and, for the first time, China's Xiamen Shipbuilding Industries has received an order from Viking Line for a new cruise ship.
There is also demand for new icebreakers, ice-breaking tankers and service vessels for the Arctic region, of which 80% are designed in Finland and 60% are also built here. According to Lainio, Russia's Yamal LNG project presents a major business opportunity for Finnish companies to supply technology for vessels that will be built in Russia and elsewhere.
Strengths of the Finnish maritime companies
Lainio believes that the strong demand for cruise ships and passenger ferries is set to continue for the next ten years and encourages Finnish companies to intensify their cooperation because the shipyards that build the large vessels plan their subcontracting in increasingly bigger units.
"The shipyards require almost fully equipped ship units that are produced elsewhere and are ready to be installed as such at the shipyard. This is a very clear trend and that's why there is also a need in Finland for these kinds of subcontractors to be near the shipyards," she says in Kauppalehti's article.
"There is demand for suitable complete units for the engine room, decks or public areas, for example. At the same time, this means having the ability to take responsibility for a project, to offer a project manager, fittings and any other necessary things on a turnkey basis."
Lainio hopes that more Finnish companies will enter the maritime sector and offer new solutions for energy saving technology, furnishings, fittings as well as information technology and digital services. In her view, the strengths of the Finnish maritime cluster are in the design of the largest cruise ships and passenger ferries, the ability of the leading companies to offer turnkey deliveries, and in Finland's maritime network of more than 1000 subcontractors.
Program Director, Maritime and Offshore in Finland
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