Struggling German shipbuilder Meyer Werft has been thrown a lifeline with a new cruise ship order from newcomer Oriental Land Company of Japan.

The Papenburg-based yard has been commissioned to build a Disney Wish-class cruise ship for the Japanese market

The new ship is scheduled for delivery in 2028. It is a sistership to three 135,000-gt cruise ships that the shipyard is building for Disney Cruise Line.

Oriental Land, which operates the Disney theme parks in Japan, is planning to enter the cruise sector.

The company is expected to commence operation of the ship by early 2029.

Oriental Land is also a new customer for the German shipbuilder.

“This order contributes to the long-term development of shipbuilding in Papenburg”, said Bernard Meyer who signed the contract in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Meyer, the long-time figurehead of the shipyard, is in his mid-seventies and stepped down from day-to-day managerial roles last August.

He was replaced as CEO of the Meyer Group by Bernd Eikens, who described the order as “a strong signal for shipbuilding in Papenburg”.

Crucial timing

The order comes at a time when the German shipbuilder is facing a liquidity crisis.

The shipbuilder, one of the world’s biggest, needs to raise around €2.7bn ($2.91bn) in the coming years.

The sum is made up of €2.3bn in working capital and €400m in equity to cover past losses and restructuring costs, German government sources told Reuters.

Last week the government had been considering a financial bail-out ahead.

That came with the shipyard scheduled to implement between 340 and 440 in job cuts that would leave Meyer Werft with a headcount of at least 3,100 workers by the end of 2030.

The order comes after Meyer Werft delivered the Disney Wish, the first ship in the Wish class, to Disney Cruise Line in 2022.

The two sister ships, Disney Treasure and Disney Destiny, are under construction in Papenburg and will be delivered in 2024 and 2025.

Download the TradeWinds News app
The News app offers you more control over your TradeWinds reading experience than any other platform.