MSC Cruises extends fleet expansion plan up to 2030, with focus on next-generation enviromental technology

20 January 2020

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique sign firm contracts for construction of third and fourth LNG-powered MSC World Class ships. Partnership further reinforced with two additional newbuild projects that will focus especially on the development and utilization of next-generation environmental technologies.

Today MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique further extended their long-term partnership by making a number of strategic announcements at a ceremony held this morning at the Matignon Palace, the French Prime Minister’s the official residence. The ceremony was attended by Édouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France; Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman; Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman; and, Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s General Manager.

First, the two companies announced the signing of firm contracts for the construction of MSC Cruises’ third and fourth LNG-powered MSC World Class ships, to be delivered in 2025 and 2027. The first of the initial two ships in the class is currently under construction at Chantiers’ shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to enter service in 2022. With 205,000 GT, she will become the biggest vessel operated by a European cruise line as well as the first LNG-powered cruise ship built in France. Compared to standard marine fuel, LNG combined with saving measures decreases sulphur emissions and particulate matter by 99%, NOx emissions by 85%, and CO2 emissions by 25%.

These contracts represent a capital investment by MSC Cruises exceeding EUR 2 billion and are expected to generate with the shipyard and its suppliers 14 million additional working hours, amounting to over 2,400 full-time equivalent jobs for the next three and a half years, directly supported by those orders. Today’s signature also allows Chantiers de l’Atlantique to start working with the hundreds of suppliers and subcontractors involved in the projects, setting in motion a new cycle that will greatly benefit the French economy.

Today MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique also extended their partnership over the next decade with two additional newbuild projects. First, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of yet a new prototype class of LNG-powered cruise ships to operate under the MSC Cruises brand. For this project, MSC Cruises, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and other partners will focus on developing emerging environmental technologies in line in particular with IMO’s vision for 2030 and 2050. The four vessels in this new class would represent a capital investment exceeding EUR 4 billion and an extra 30 million working hours for the yard, the suppliers and subcontractors involved in the project.


Image by Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

A second MoU sees MSC Cruises partnering with Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the development of yet another innovative prototype ship class concept with which they will explore opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring to passenger shipping.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “The three agreements signed today extend our investment plan up to 2030. They stem from an exceptional partnership, with Chantiers, that has already delivered 15 highly-innovative innovative cruise ships over the past two decades and will see many more vessels come to life at Saint-Nazaire’s docks in the next ten years. They also confirm that this industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability, in this case helping the French national industry further position itself as a world leader in the development of next-generation technologies and other solutions.”

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, said: “We are really proud and happy to have built such an outstanding relationship with MSC Cruises, based on mutual trust and driven by the spirit of innovation. We are both committed to shaping the cruise of tomorrow and to developing ship concepts which go far beyond the existing environmental standards. Our companies have already been working together for twenty years and these new projects allow us to look enthusiastically to the future.”

MSC Cruises is strongly committed to achieving a zero-impact future by investing in the accelerated development of new energy solutions and other environmental technologies that will allow that. On 1 January 2020 MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to achieve carbon neutral fleet operations. As today’s most advanced environmental technology alone is insufficient to reach that, while it works to minimize and continuously reduce its environmental footprint MSC Cruises is offsetting all CO2 emissions from its fleet that it is not be possible to abate through such technology through a blend of high standard carbon offset projects.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique press release