Jan Mayer: passenger ship building is highly client-centred

Tallinki uue laeva Megastar kiilupanek Meyer Turku laevatehases. Pildil Jan Meyer.

PHOTO: Mihkel Maripuu

Meyer Turku shipyard CEO Jan Meyer says there isn't much demand for new ferryboats on the market. 

- What’s the situation on the ship market?  Client is king, as many have said?

The demand is good on the cruise ship market, but the ferryboat market is not too strong at the moment. Alas, shipbuilding is a sector cyclical by nature; to compensate for that, we are endeavouring to create and to keep good relations with our clients.  

There are very few shipowners able to operate very large cruise vessels. This is a niche market, a very special market and a very special product. It takes special skills to be competitive. But we like it actually, it is a good market to be in.

- What makes building passenger ships special?

It is client-centred. Looking at container ship building, a container does not care how comfortable it gets from point A to point B. Passengers, however, come aboard, they either like it or not, they either act according to plan or unpredictably. Shipowners must adapt to that and tell us so we can also adapt and design a product maximally competitive.

On top of that, our clients are interested in several aspects: environment friendliness, energy economy, optimisation of operation etc.

Compared to container ships or tankers, passenger ships are very sophisticated, literally stuffed with technology.

- Why did Meyer Werft decide to buy the Turku dock two years ago?

Yes, the Turku dock does come with some geographical handicap, but at the same time they have always had a good reputation due to modern technology and quality. We always used to consider them our main competitor – the one to compare ourselves regarding the technical aspects and quality. In that sense, it was a very suitable buy. Now we work together and exchange lots and lots of knowhow.

If you look at the list of world’s largest ship builders, European companies may be counted on one hand’s fingers. But in Europe we have the advantage to be flexible, ingenious, design-oriented. In standardized design there’s no competing with Asia.