Beijing, China – February 11, 2018 – MSC Group, the Geneva, Switzerland-based second largest transportation and logistics business in the world, and Onorato Armatori, owner of a Group of operating companies in the Mediterranean area and in Baltic, signed a contract today with Guangzhou Shipyard International Co., Ltd (GSI) and China Shipbuilding Trading Co., Ltd (CSTC) (joint sellers) for a 4+2+2 order of 2,500-passenger, 3,765-trailer meter luxury roll-on/roll-off luxury cruise ferries. GSI and CSTC are subsidiaries of the CSSC Group.

Of the initial order for four, GNV, MSC Group’s Genoa, Italy-based ferry business and the leading operator in the Mediterranean, will receive the delivery of the first and third vessel. Onorato Armatori will receive the second and fourth. Additionally, the two companies will hold options for an additional two vessels each. The first vessel will come into service in 2020.

The official signing ceremony, which took place earlier today at CSSC headquarters in Beijing, was attended by Mr DONG Qiang, chairman of CSSC, Mr Pierfrancesco Vago on behalf of MSC Group, Mr Achille Onorato of Onorato Armatori and ship owner, Mr Matteo Catani, CEO of GNV, Mr HAN Guangde, chairman of GSI, as well as Mr LI Hongtao, general manager of CSTC.

The luxury roll-on/roll-off passenger (ROPAX) cruise ferries are 229.50 meters in length and 32 meters wide. A total number of 534 cabins can accommodate 2,500 people. Moreover, they boast 3,765 trailer meters, can travel at a speed of about 23.5 knots and have been classified by RINA, the global marine certification agency. Additionally, the vessels will feature a variety of environmentally friendly features including LNG-ready engines.

Pierfrancesco Vago said: “For MSC Group, the order of these highly-innovative, luxury cruise ferries marks yet another milestone in our commitment to China. A country in which we opened our first office in 1998 and today we have 24. Where over the years we built over 70 of our cargo vessels and most of our 3 million container boxes, all of which while investing over US$10 billion in this and other manufacturing. A market in which we partner with some of the best companies in our industry to today handle 10 million TEU’s a year. And where, starting this May, will homeport one of our largest and most modern cruise ships MSC Splendida.

“We are particularly pleased to see that the Chinese shipbuilding industry has made such a significant step change over recent times,” added Mr Vago. “It is for this reason that the time has now come for MSC Group to partner with China and its shipbuilding industry also with our ROPAX business. This starts with the construction of the magnificent vessels that we are announcing today.”

Mr Vago is executive chairman of GNV as well as MSC Cruises. He leads MSC Group’s passenger division.

Achille Onorato added: “With this signature we have taken another important step towards the creation of a RO-PAX class of ships, something inconceivable until a short time ago, something that is avant-garde and projected towards the future. These two new vessels will not only be the biggest RO-PAX ever built but will also have comfort and technology that will be difficult to copy and we are sure that they will represent the benchmark for the entire sector. Innovation has always been an objective to which the Onorato family has attached great importance, and the ships are the demonstration of how much we desire to improve and make more efficient the transport of people and cargo in the Mediterranean basin.”

MSC Group, which is owned by the Aponte family, boasts over 300 years of shipping heritage. Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Group owns, amongst others: the world’s second-largest cargo shipping company (MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company); the world’s largest privately-held cruises line as well as the leading cruise brand in Europe and the fourth largest globally (MSC Cruises); the world’s sixth-largest terminal operator (TIL); as well as, the leading ferry operator in the Mediterranean (GNV). Its cruise arm, MSC Cruises, first entered China in 2006, quickly becoming the cruise line of choice for Chinese cruising in Europe and the Med and has now cruise ships deployed to home port in the market. In May 2018, its flagship MSC Splendida will deploy to China to serve the home market with one of its latest-generation ships.

Genoa, Italy-based GNV, is an MSC Group company and the leading ferry operator in the Mediterranean. Founded in 1992, it operates 12 international and 7 national routes between Italy (including Sardinia and Sicily), Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, France, Albania and Malta. With a fleet of 14 vessels, in 2017 GNV carried over 1.6 million passengers and over 2 million lane meters.

Onorato Armatori, a leader in passenger and goods maritime transport, is the parent company of the Moby, Tirrenia-CIN and Toremar companies. Its fleet includes 63 ships, including 46 ROPAX/cargo ships and 17 tugs. Their main routes cover all of Italy and the surrounding islands. Moby, founded in the 1985 by Vincenzo Onorato, is the company par excellence for families, where fun, care for environments and the excellent gastronomic offer make every voyage the start of a holiday. Moby has been awarded the 2017/2018 Seal of Quality, the prestige Green Star on its three flagships and was selected by passengers the best ferry company at the Italia Travel Awards 2017.

As a leading shipyard in the new field of luxury passenger ships in China, GSI has successfully designed and manufactured nearly 10 luxury ROPAX ships for shipowners such as Gotlandsbolaget, COSCO Shipping Co., Ltd. and Hainan Strait Co., Ltd. since 2001. These vessels have earned a good reputation in the international shipping market. Today this has been further confirmed by the order as well as related options placed by MSC Group and MOBY.

The signing of the construction contract will further enhance the GSI brand in the new market of top-class passenger ships. In addition, it will establish a foundation upon which GSI can start building small-and-medium-sized luxury cruises, which will further promote the transformation and upgrading of China’s shipbuilding industry and move it closer to becoming a high-tech shipbuilding powerhouse.

About MSC Group
MSC Group was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It owns, amongst others: the world’s second-largest cargo shipping company (MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company); the world’s largest privately-held cruises line as well as the leading cruise brand in Europe and the fourth largest globally (MSC Cruises); the world’s sixth-largest terminal operator (TIL); as well as, the leading ferry operator in the Mediterranean (GNV).

About GNV
GNV, founded in 1992, is an MSC Group company and a leading ferry operator in the Mediterranean, with one of the youngest fleet in the world. With 14 ships, 7 of which have the prestigious Green Star environmental quality award, GNV provides 12 international connections and 7 Italian national lines, from and to Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, France, Albania, Tunisia, Morocco and Malta. With more than 1,200 employees and a turnover of over €300 million per year, GNV is the 5th largest ferry operator in the world in terms of capacity in linear meters, and the 4th for the number of available beds. GNV is one of the main carriers of the Motorways of the Sea since 1998; thanks to the flexibility of its fleet and its modern and comfortable onboard services, GNV has been named best ferry company by the Travel Agencies at the Italian Travel Awards in 2016 and in 2017.

For more details, please contact:

MSC Group
Luca Biondolillo
Chief Communications Officer
Mobile: +41 (79) 605-4904