Le Laperouse fra rederiet Ponant, levert av Vard Søviknes. (Foto: Ponant

This cruise ship is the future of Norwegian shipyards

June 15 Le Laperouse was delivered, the first cruise ship in a series of several new ships from Vard Group. Vard Søviknes yard now has full capacity utilization, and the group’s shipyards will supply cruise ships to several well-known actors on a continuous basis until 2021. GIEK is central to the funding of all vessels and in the conversion of Norwegian shipyard from mainly offshore vessels to other types of vessels to new markets.

The buyer of Le Laperouse is the French cruise company Ponant, an established player with extensive experience in expedition and luxury cruises. Ponant has ordered another six cruise ships from VARD which will be delivered until 2021.

-Le Lapréouse is a real achievement for the company and the result of an intense team work with Vard. Remarkable nautical performances, technical excellence, a high standard of comfort, everything is in place for the Ponant Explorers series to be a success. Last but not least, we have been very happy to benefit from the Norwegian export credit agency support, making up with Vard a comprehensive offer delivered in a very professional way, says Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant.

Ponant is not the only shipping company that has been interested in Norwegian-owned cruise ships. Among others two cruise ships for German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises which are part of the TUI group.

GIEK provides financial guarantees to the project.

-Our guarantees are often crucial for Norwegian yards to win construction contracts that would otherwise go to overseas competitors, says Wenche Nistad, head of GIEK.

-The past few years have been demanding for the shipbuilding industry, but the industry is changing rapidly. Now cruise ships make up more than 50 percent of the order backlog at Norwegian shipyards. The cruise market partly compensates for the decline in the offshore industry, and is now the largest market for Norwegian shipyards. We are still waiting for growth in the market - and several guarantee applications to GIEK, she adds.

New era in the Norwegian shipbuilding industry
Traditional cruise yards in Italy, Finland, France and Germany have so far accounted for most of the shipbuilding to the cruise lines. Now, the demand for smaller specialized vessels for high-level expeditions is rising. Norwegian shipyards offer technology expertise, good environmental standards and flexibility and have therefore secured a large part of the contract within the expedition and luxury cruise market.

The Norwegian shipbuilding industry has a long tradition of delivering advanced  ships to the offshore industry and other highly specialized vessels.

-This has been a strength for us in the changeover to the cruise industry. We are proud to deliver our first cruise expedition vessel, which is delivered on time, and supply high quality expedition vessels  in an exciting market, while the contracts mean a lot for the local communities in our region, SVP and Yard director, Frode Klokk said.

The state builds trust between shipyards, shipping companies and banks
The seven cruise ships that Ponant has contracted represents total Norwegian exports for several billion NOK. 

-We clearly see that GIEK's guarantees are important for achieving contracts in new markets. We are pleased to contribute to a new optimism for the future of Norwegian shipyards, concludes Nistad in GIEK.


Press contact: Allon Groth