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German shipyards are recognized internationally for constructing cruise ships, mega yachts and specialized vessels. Some of them have

long-term customers who appreciate the German know-how and quality.
Last year German shipyards have delivered many newbuildings of different types and got orders for other vessels to be delivered[ds_preview] in the years ahead. For this reason, the German shipbuilding yards mostly consider 2015 a successful year. Mainly specialized vessels and cruise ships were handed over to the customers. Building megayachts and the construction of warships are still important pillars of the German shipbuilding industry.

The shipyard group combining Meyer Werft in Papenburg and Neptun Werft in Rostock-Warnemünde built 13 vessels in 2015. Two cruise ships, »Anthem of the Seas« for Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and »Norwegian Eclipse« for long-term customer Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), were built in Papenburg while eleven river cruise liners for US-based Viking River Cruises were delivered by Meyer’s sister company Neptun Werft. In addition the cruise ship »Mein Schiff 4« for TUI Cruises was manufactured at Meyer Turku in Finland. This shipyard is now completely owned by Meyer. The takeover was realized in April 2015 after the Germans had already bought 70% of the enterprise in 2014.

The market for constructing mega yachts is not constrained by the shipping crisis, because orders are usually placed by rich private investors. This will also benefit the two shipyards Abeking & Rasmussen (A&R) and Lürssen, recognized as international mega yacht builders. Last year in September, Lürssen delivered the »Golden Odyssey« of 123m and »Lady Lara« measuring 91m in length while A&R handed over 82m long »Romea«. The yacht industry is very secretive so it is still difficult to get detailed information about projects and orders but some highlights in the order book are already known.

What Lürssen and A&R are for the yacht industry, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is for constructing naval vessels. Submarines are mainly built at the location in Kiel whereas surface vessels are mainly constructed at the Hamburg facility. Last year the submarine »Rahav« followed the »Tanin« delivered in 2014. It is the second of three submarines designed for the Israeli Navy. However, in the naval sector it is just as complicated to get information about projects and orders because many of the yards try to hide their projects from the public.

Building specialized vessels is another large segment for the German shipyards. Shipbuilder Fassmer delivered the gas-fuelled ferry »Helgoland« to the customer AG Ems/Cassen Eils in December 2015. Furthermore, the »Ernst Meier-Hedde«, the first of a completely new generation of 28m rescue vessels designed for the German Search and Rescue Association (DGzRS), was built in Berne. In addition, the 43m long offshore research vessel »Sultan« was handed over to Fugro OSAE which operates in hydrographic survey. Another specialized vessel ist the »Amazon Conqueror«. This research survey vessel was built at Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft (FSG) for Western Geco. The two ice-breaking salvage vessels »Murman« and »Beringov Proliv« built by Nordic Yards for the Russian Ministry of Transport define a specialized shiptype of their own, of course. The first, »Murman«, has been awarded ship of the year 2015 by HANSA. The construction of platforms for offshore wind farms is another core business area for Nordic Yards. Last year, three HVDC platforms have been constructed for Siemens Energy.

Again German shipyards acquired less orders for merchant vessels. One facility specialized in this type of ship is Ferus Smit located in Leer. Two multipurpose vessels, the »Nordana Sky« and »Nordana Star«, have been delivered to the customer Symphony Shipping. A third unit, the »Nordana Sea«, was christened in December. The shipping company has contracted other vessels to be built by Ferus Smit during the next years.

Last year the German shipbuilding facilities also built a lot of smaller vessels mainly for port authorities. Schiffswerft Bolle, located inland on the Elbe river, was awarded a major contract. The yard built nine vessels, mainly work boats, for different authorities. Schiffswerft Hermann Barthel, also located on the Elbe, also built some smaller maritime and inland waterway vessels for authorities. Some kilometres further down the Elbe Hitzler Werft in Lauenburg finalized the first two of four ice-breaking tug boats for Hamburg Port Authority (HPA).

Full order books for the future

According to German Shipbuilding and Ocean Industries Association (VSM), the value of the vessels ordered at German shipyards amounted to 12,5 bill. € by the end of September 2015. The largest percentage is taken by passenger ships (64%), followed by yachts (27%). In 2014 the value of passenger ships was 54,1% and of yachts it was 32,9%.

The shipyard group Meyer Werft still is number one in building passenger ships and river cruisers in Germany. In Papenburg, at the sister company Neptun Werft and in Turku, Finland, the group will build a total of 28 vessels until the end of 2021. Most of them are cruise vessels. Two of them, »Genting Dream« for Dream Cruises and the »Ovation of the Seas« for Royal Caribbean Cruises, will be delivered this year. The remaining units will follow during the next years, including two cruise vessels of a completely new design for the customer Aida Cruises. The return of the cruise company to Meyer Werft can also be valued as a success for the German shipbuilding market. A recent order for two cruise ships of the AIDAprima class had been placed in Japan. The building yard Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, however, wasn’t able to finish the vesseles on time, so their delivery was delayed by several months.

This year Neptun Werft will deliver six river cruisers for long-term customer Viking River Cruises. Last year the company ordered another two vessels at Neptun Werft for delivery in 2017. Backed by these contracts the number of the so-called Viking longships will rise to more than 40.

Lloyd Werft located in Bremerhaven has also received orders for new ships. The yard will build four 100,000 gt cruise vessels for Crystal Cruises and four river cruisers for sister company Crystal River Cruises. In recent years the shipyard mainly did repair works, so the order can be seen as a positive signal for the German shipbuilding industry. In the beginning of this year, Lloyd Werft announced the complete acquisition by the Hong Kong-based Genting Group, parent company of Crystal Cruises. According to shipyard board member Rüdiger Pallentin the acquisition by the Asians will ensure the shipbuilding location Bremerhaven for decades. Pallentin said that orders with a value of about 2 bill. € are associated with the takeover. The Genting Group had bought 70% of the shipyard in September 2015 and the remaining 30% at the end of the year after buying Crystal Cruises in summer.

In addition to the mega yachts in the order book, Lürssen was destined to build about 100 patrol vessels for the police of Saudi Arabia. According to industry insiders, the value of this order alone is approximately 2 bill. €.

At their faciliy in Hamburg TKMS is constructing four vessels for the German Navy. Furthermore, the third submarine for the Israeli Navy is scheduled for 2017. In addition, the same customer has placed an order for four corvettes. The Algerian Navy ordered two frigates and the Egyptian Navy four submarines. All of these orders contribute to the ongoing trend that customers from all over the world trust in the German shipbuilding market.

As for the market of specialized vessels the delivery of two well intervention vessels for the offshore industry is scheduled. The duo is being built by FSG for the Norwegian company Siem Offshore. Fassmer will deliver the »Fugro Venture« for Fugro N.V. and Nobiskrug is going to deliver the 145m sailing yacht »White Pearl« very soon. Nobiskrug belongs to the shipyard group German Naval Yards, located in Kiel and Rendsburg. Formerly known as Abu Dhabi Mar (ADM), the group wants to attract naval ship and yacht orders.

In the merchant shipping sector Symphony Shipping is awaiting further multipurpose vessels constructed by Ferus Smit. Also this year, FSG is due to deliver the RoRo vessel »Searoad Mersey« to the Australian company Searoad Holdings, and Meyer Group acquired an order to build an LNG tanker for the Netherlands-based company Anthony Veder. The vessel will be constructed at Meyer’s sister company Neptun Werft and is scheduled for delivery next year.

Thomas Wägener