The stern of the ‘Quantum of the Seas’ rises up like a steel skyscraper, nearly touching the ceiling of Meyer’s largest dry dock. There is activity everywhere on the 16-story section of the ship: Window panes are already being installed above the afterdeck, while showers of sparks indicate more basic tasks still being performed on other levels, such as welding walls and edging.
At the edge of the dock, a forklift lowers one of 2,000 turnkey cabins to the ground, fully furnished with pictures, carpets, and furniture. “We design and build swimming cities,” says shipyard owner Bernard Meyer (65), “and as a full-service provider we do everything, from welding steel plates all the way to constructing restaurants and theaters, installing complex IT networks, and supplying everything else needed on board.”
Meyer started building cruise liners in the mid-1980’s – and has gone a long way toward securing the existence of the shipyard and its 3,100 employees. The investments were worth every penny. The customer of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe generates a yearly turnover of more than one billion euros, supplies all major cruise lines, and attracts luxury liner architects who are very eager to work for the global market leader.
Six luxury liners by 2017
“Building cruise liners is as challenging and multifaceted as shipbuilding gets,” says Ralf Sempf, head of Purchasing/Materials Management and member of the Board of Directors. For example, the order books – which are filled to the brim until 2017 – not only include six luxury liners, but also 29 river cruise ships that will be built at the Rostock-based Neptunwerft shipyard.
Preliminary tasks are performed for the affiliated company by Meyer’s laser center located in Papenburg. “thyssenkrupp Steel Europe has been a key partner of ours for many decades, both as a supplier and a co-developer,” explains Sempf. “One of our joint projects involves developing even thinner plates in the required standard formats to save weight and thus energy.”
“Aside from these activities, our product range for shipbuilding has remained constant over the past years,” adds Mario Klatt, Sales Manager Germany of the Heavy Plate Business Unit at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. “We highly appreciate the Meyer Werft shipyard as a reliable customer.”
The next generation is ready
Meanwhile, Meyer is considering adding shuttle and maintenance ships for offshore systems to the product offering. “After all, European shipyards only stand a chance by combining expertise, top productivity, and the flexibility required to build complex specialized vessels,” says Bernard Meyer with strong conviction, “a fact proven by the development of our own business.” Given the increasingly stiff competition from Asia, he has decided to forge cooperations with other European shipyards. And his son Jan Meyer is getting ready to uphold the tradition of the nearly 220-year-old shipyard and secure its future for at least another generation.
For further information on Meyer Werft or a live-cam view of the dry docks, visit: http://www.meyerwerft.de