Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co will start the construction of
the first Chinese-made cruise liner in 2019 after completing a yearlong
overhaul of a shipyard.
The Shanghai-based shipbuilder aims to eventually produce three
to four cruise ships a year, according to Tao Ying, the company's chief
"All-around preparatory work will kick off next year. As
cruise-ship building is so much different from the cargo ships or
container ships that we've built before, we have to transform our
factory and convert the production flow," says Tao.
The cruise construction program is a combination of manufacturing
and art, since the ship is a floating Las Vegas on the sea, which is
even more difficult than developing an aircraft carrier, says He Qixing,
manager of the cruise department at SWS.
SWS, a wholly owned company of China State Shipbuilding Corp, is
eager to transform itself from a traditional shipbuilder into a
cruise-ship building center comparable to such market leaders as
Italy-based Fincantieri SpA and Germany's Meyer Werft.
China's cruise passenger numbers rose to 2.1 million in 2016,
taking third position in global passenger rankings for the year,
according to data from the Cruise Lines International Association.
China is the fastest-growing market and is projected to have 10 million cruise passengers by 2026, says He.
But the rising demand for cruise tours can hardly be met, because
annual cruise output of the top three shipyards in Europe is between
seven and eight, while global demand for new cruise vessels averages 12
The first homegrown cruise ship has a length of 323.6 meters and a
width of 37.2 meters, and it can accommodate nearly 5,000 passengers
with 2,000 cabins. It is expected to be delivered in 2023, followed by a
rate of one vessel per year from 2024 to 2028.