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Meyer Turku boosts cruise business with new technology drive

Fri 10 Nov 2017 by Rebecca Moore

Meyer Turku boosts cruise business with new technology drive
Snapshot CV Tapani Pulli (Meyer Turku)

Meyer Turku has a record cruise ship orderbook that focuses on the use of new technologies including LNG. Meyer Turku’s deputy chief executive described the shipyard’s strategy to Rebecca Moore

Meyer Turku is homing in on developing energy-efficient and sustainable technologies and is using this focus to strengthen its position in the cruise ship construction sector.

It has eight cruise ships in an orderbook that stretches to 2024, contributing to a record orderbook for the Finnish shipyard, its deputy chief executive, Tapani Pulli told Passenger Ship Technology. “We have had multiple ship orders in the past but have never had an orderbook that has extended so far.”

The cruise ships on the orderbook are TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1 and 2, due for delivery in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and two cruise ships each for Carnival, Costa Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

Apart from the TUI newbuildings, the remaining ships will all be LNG dual-fuelled, highlighting Meyer Turku’s strength and interest in this area. “We are very keen on developing new technologies and implementing technologies like LNG,” Mr Pulli said.

He added that the yard would draw on its experience of using LNG technology in the passenger ferry sector. It built Viking Line’s Viking Grace, which was the largest ferry at the time to use LNG (2013), and LNG-fuelled Megastar, which Meyer Turku delivered to Tallink in Q1 this year.

“These are good examples of how we have developed LNG technology,” explained Mr Pulli. “We stored the LNG tanks on deck on Viking Grace and in Megastar we built the tanks into the hull structure. These different experiences will help us with our future orderbook.”

Meyer Turku’s deliveries to Royal Caribbean Cruises, scheduled for 2022 and 2024, particularly stand out in terms of environmental technology as they will combine LNG power with fuel cells for power generation.

“We are focused on fuel cell technology and keen to put our efforts into developing it together with our customers” Tapani Pulli (Meyer Turku)

Mr Pulli said that the shipyard was already involved in preparatory work and fuel cell development for those newbuilds. “We are focused on fuel cell technology and keen to put our efforts into developing it together with our customers. It is very interesting to look at how to develop this very old technology from a kilowatt range to a megawatt range.”

He believes fuel cell technology will be one of the future trends in the cruise ship sector, as long the infrastructure is developed to allow ships to bunker appropriate fuel for the cells.

Other examples of Meyer Turku’s energy-efficiency focus can be seen when it comes to TUI Cruises’ series of Mein Schiff cruise ships (Mein Schiffs 3,4,5 and 6 were all built by the shipyard). Energy efficiency and sustainable solutions were important aspects in each one, as each successive ship was set an improvement target over its predecessor, which Meyer Turku met. The latest cruise ship in this class, Mein Schiff 6, was delivered in June and, as a result of that policy, its energy consumption “was exceptionally low”, noted Mr Pulli.

He singled out one of the reasons behind the environmentally friendliness of the vessel: the ship uses the most advanced scrubber technology and the same scrubber solutions are being retrofitted to the previous sister vessels. “Together with the system supplier and our customer, we improved the technology by finding the best possible configuration of the equipment,” explained Mr Pulli.

Another area that the shipyard focuses on to achieve the best energy efficiency performance is hydrodynamics, using CFD. “We build very advanced hull forms that use very little propulsion power,” Mr Pulli said.

Alongside Meyer Turku’s focus on energy efficiency, it is also concentrating on building the biggest cruise ships. Apart from Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, the ships on its orderbook are sized between 150,000-200,000 gt. Even Mein Schiff 1 and 2 will – at 110,000 gt – be 20 m longer than their sister vessels and see their capacity increase by 10%.

Explaining the focus on mega cruise ships, Mr Pulli highlighted how it made the shipyard stand out. “Many shipyards build small cruise vessels, very few are able to build ones of this size,” he said. “We have been building larger cruise ships since 2000 so have developed our operations and network of suppliers,” he added.

It also helps that, at 365 m long, the shipyard’s drydock is bigger than most and the yard has been ramping up its other facilities to deal with larger volumes of cruise ships. An investment plan of more than €100M (US$116M) has been launched since the yard was bought by Germany’s Meyer family in 2014.

“This moves us from being a traditional manufacturing shipyard to an industrial shipyard where there is more automation,” said Mr Pulli. A new 1,200-tonne crane will be installed in Q3 this year and the yard is also updating and investing in equipment to improve its steel storage and treatment and prefabrication.

This programme will be finished in 2020, allowing the yard to double its cruise ship production volumes from 150,000 gt to 300,000 gt per year. Mr Pulli said that the yard expects to reach this target in 2021 or 2022 and is focused on gradually growing its volume by 20% per year to reach that goal.

There are two other cornerstones of its cruise ship strategy. First, it has a range of operators on its orderbook. “This is deliberate so that we do not depend on just one customer,” Mr Pulli explained. Second, it is “very important to build long-term relationships” with cruise ship operators.

Exclusive: Q&A with Meyer Turku’s Jan Meyer

Asian shipyards’ entry into the cruise ship market is “a bit of a challenge”, Meyer Turku chief executive Jan Meyer told Passenger Ship Technology.

While Meyer shipyards were “ahead in technology and productivity”, Asia’s shipyards get a lot of government support, he said, so “there is not a level playing field.”

He added “But we just really need to do our homework, we can’t sit still.”

Speaking at the steel-cutting of Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda at Meyer Turku in September 2017, he told Passenger Ship Technology in an exclusive interview that one area of technology that the yard is investigating to help keep it in the lead centres on new fuels for cruise ships.

Discussions have been held with ship operators and oil majors about the use of fuels other than LNG, including methanol. But he warned there were challenges to using these fuels: one is “the infrastructure and how to get the fuel to the ship” and another requires “having an awareness of the source of the fuel; how much energy it takes to refine, bring it to the ship and consume it.”

In short, he said, these studies extend from well to wake; “we are taking a holistic view.”

 

Snapshot CV Tapani Pulli (Meyer Turku)

Tapani Pulli’s experience in the maritime industry had spanned 30 years. He started his career as a design engineer at Hollming in 1986 and has since worked extensively within both the business and manufacturing sides of shipbuilding.

From 2006 Mr Pulli has been a member of the management team at Turku shipyard under its various owners: first as Aker Yards before it became STX Finland and finally, from 2014, with its current owner, Meyer Turku.

He has been deputy chief executive officer since 2015 and is responsible for the operational side of shipbuilding (design and production of ships), shipyard investments and quality.

 

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