Grimaldi is going to order 10 high performance newbuildings
Negotiations with shipyards will be starting in a year: innovative projects for the construction of 6 multipurpose cargo and 4 ro-pax units, implying overall 1 billion Euro
Athens – Although still boasting a substantial orderbook, Grimaldi of Naples is already evaluating a new series of investments to refresh its fleet.
As announced by Manuel Grimaldi, Managing Director of Naples-based group, while attending the 22nd edition of Euromed Convention of Athens, the next step should be worth at least 1 billion Euro, for the construction of 4 new ro-pax ferries and 5 or 6 multipurpose ships. “Our engineers are working on the project, supported by some of the world's top technical engineering studies”.
Two projects are being evaluated, one of them relates to passengers ships while the second one focuses on ro-pax units.“We are upgrading former Star class ships built at Fincantieri Ancona in the early 2000 on behalf of Finnlines. For the time being we've called them Super-Star. Four units should be built, with 300 cabins and 5,000 linear metres loading capacity. They will be the largest and most innovative ro-pax ro-pax ships ever built, to operate in Northern Europe on behalf of Finnlines and in the Mediterranean on behalf of Grimaldi Lines”.
According to Gianluca Grimaldi, managing the group's deep-sea division “we need to evaluate how to replace our 4 / 5 older ships(20 years old). We are upgrading series G4, built at Hyundai Mipo shipyard (the latter were delivered 4 years ago, Ed.), with 1000 TEU capacity, 3,000 cars and 3,000 linear metres. The new ships' capacity will be 20% higher, although their dimensions would primarily depend on two key factors: last but not the least, African ports restrictions, where these units will be operating”.
The new multipurpose ships will be deployed onto Grimaldi lines to Europe, West Africa and South America.
However, confirms Manuel Grimaldi, we'll be constructing high -performance and eco-friendly ships: “we target reaching 35 - 40% energy efficiency, while increasing performance by 20%”.
On the other hand, cutting down environmental impact wouldn't only be “a priority but a strategic target. Bunker expenses are three times higher than staff costs and I wish to point out we currently recruit 15,000 workers”.
“I confide these projects will be completed in a year and then we'll choose a suitable shipyard”.
Although the new multipurpose units will be almost certainly built in China “where yards improved performance although maintaining 20% lower prices” regarding passengers ships “we would rather order them in Europe.
However, big European players, like Fincantieri, are intensively committed to cruiseships and reliable alternatives could be evaluated: Visentini, Flensubrg in Germany and other manufacturers of the Old Continent. I really hope manufacturing these ships in Europe, while overall investment would roughly reach 1 billion Euro”.
In essence a rather ambitious plan running in parallel with the group's very positive performance:
passengers soared from 3 million handled in 2017 to 4 million recorded in late 2018, targeting 5 million.
Still according to Grimaldi “passengers trade is still the second business in terms of turnover. Pax lines generate 300 million Euro sales, while revenues will reach 3 billion in 2018 recording 200 to 250 million estimated profit”.
During the annual convention, participated by renowned European speakers, one of the primary subject was the sulphur cap set by IMO to be enforced as from 2020: “The new regulations are right and cutting sulphur emissions should be a priority for the whole industry. We are investing to upgrade our ships, nevertheless if a shipowner couldn't find low sulphur fuel he should be protected from sanctions”, concludes Grimaldi.