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A giant state cruise operator in China

Aiming to further develop China's cruise sector, six Chinese companies collaborated to form the state-owned cruise operator, Huaxia International Cruises

Aiming to further develop China’s cruise sector, six Chinese companies collaborated to form the state-owned cruise operator, Huaxia International Cruises.

THE COMPANIES that will participate in the new scheme are:

China Tourism Group, China Ocean Shipping Group, Jinjiang International Group, Shanghai Wusongkou Cultural Tourism Investment Group, Shanghai Jiushi Group and China Merchants Shekou, which currently operates the former Viking Sun in a joint venture with Viking Cruises.

According to Chinese sources, the new company will operate based on a shareholder cooperation agreement signed at the end of December. With a registered capital of 8.5 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars), the company will also offer, among other things, waterway freight services, duty-free sales, tourism and logistics services.

According to information, the new company will use the Shanghai International Cruise Port as the main port, while it will also develop cooperation with other Chinese ports.

The return of international companies

The cruise sector, after years of limited activity, returns dynamically to the Chinese market. In 2024 the European company MSC Cruises will operate in China with two large cruise ships. The first one is MSC Bellissima, with a capacity of 172,000 tons and the capability to accommodate 5,686 passengers. It will depart from Baoshan Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, in Shanghai, and will visit neighboring countries between March 16 and April 24, 2024.

The second one is MSC Splendida which will cover three ports of departure in the Chinese market, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Keelung in Taiwan, in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean International will resume its operation in the country, with Spectrum of the Seas expected to arrive in April.

Adora Cruises was also upgraded earlier this year with the debut of the new Adora Magic City. The cruise ship is now sailing from Shanghai on an annual basis. The ship that can accomodate 5,246 passengers was built in China from Shanghai shipyard Waigaoqiao.

China ready for further development

The government is aiming to further increase participation of the Chinese companies in this particular sector, considering that building ships in domestic shipyards is to the benefit of the country.

The successful delivery of Adora Magic City added China to the list of countries such as Italy, France, Germany and Finland which design and construct their own cruise ships.

China is the only country that has taken such significant steps regarding the development of technology for the construction of large cruise ships. Since October 2013 when the project started, 2.3 million hours have been dedicated to the design and 18 million hours to the construction of Adora Magic City.

The 323.6-meter-long and 37.2-meter-wide ship has 55,000 sets of equipment, 25 million parts and spare parts, 4,750 km cables, 365 kilometers of pipelines and 120 kilometers of air ducts.

Adora Magic City, which has a total capacity of 135,500 tons, can accommodate 5,246 travelers in its 2,125 cabins. Equipped with a public space and entertainment areas extended to 40,000 sq. meters, the ship is known as “modern city at sea.”

Xing Yue, general manager of Clarksons Research in China, stated in a report: “Only five shipyards all over the world have the experience to build large cruise ships. The construction of Adora Magic City by China State Shipbuilding Corp or CSSC and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co ended the rule of three European shipyards in the construction of large cruise ships.”

China’s shipbuilding industry is now able to contribute to the further development of the cruise sector, with sector representatives seeing that the Chinese cruise economy will increase to 500 billion yuan (71 billion US dollars) by 2035.