With an order book of six huge cruise ships and an option for three more to be delivered through 2026 for Royal Caribbean International and MSC Croisières, Chantiers de l'Atlantique and its subcontractors have clear sailing ahead. This reflects the skills and expertise of the Nantes Saint-Nazaire shipbuilding industry, inherited from its commercial past when ships carried wood and steel. It is also a challenge that must be met, in terms of constant technological innovation, employment and training. At least 400 to 500 jobs will be created in the shipbuilding sector in Nantes Saint-Nazaire in the coming years. Another major player in military shipbuilding, DCNS has received a large order for submarines from the Australian National Navy.
Innovation, our hallmark
The shipbuilding industry here is well-equipped to meet these challenges. As the international leader, it has a unique level of experience and a capacity for innovation and design that make all the difference. These strengths make it possible to meet the most stringent demands of its clients, and even to anticipate them. STX ships are environmentally friendly, offer cabin configurations featuring the best technology combining connectivity and design, and provide uniquely new amenities and powerful engines. Chantiers de l'Atlantique and their co-manufacturers are able to reduce both the cost of prototype ships and the production costs of sister ships. With Smart Yard 2020, the new modernization plan, STX will invest another 100 million euros from 2016 to 2020.
Ocean Technocampus, an ultra-modern facility
Inaugurated in 2015, the Ocean Technocampus is an exceptional research and development centre in France that brings together over 18,000 m2 of workshops and offices and more than 300 researchers working on metal processes and structures at sea. At the Technocampus, industrial corporations work hand in hand with SMEs, engineering schools and universities.
The secret here is that firms in the shipbuilding sector know how to work collaboratively. As part of the Neopolia cluster, some forty Nantes Saint-Nazaire companies are working together to identify new markets and develop new solutions. Together, they designed a purpose-built vessel to provide support and maintenance to the future offshore wind farms. Together, they obtained the contract from cruise company CroisiEurope to build the Loire Princesse, a riverboat with very low draft, giving them a leg up on the river cruise market.