In what the company calls a historic deal, ABB will supply an integrated package, including two Azipod steerable propulsion systems, for the construction of China’s first domestically built cruise ship.

The 323 m vessel, set for delivery in 2023, can accommodate 5000 passengers and is designed to suit the tastes of Chinese cruise travelers, whose numbers are expected to rise to 8-10 million annually by 2025, according to industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

“With this project, China is making great strides in cruise shipbuilding. We believe the key to success is in working closely with experienced stakeholders, and our selection of ABB is based on their unparalleled know-how of the cruise market, as well as capabilities and understanding of running projects locally in China. I’m looking forward to seeing the close cooperation between ABB and the shipyard to provide high-level solutions and services for the first cruise vessel built in China,” said Mr. Gang Chen, general manager of Shanghai Waogaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

ABB will supply an integrated package to the vessel including two Azipod units which the company said can cut fuel consumption by up to 15%, reduce noise and vibration and offer 360-degree maneuverability. The drive motor of the Azipod is located in a submerged pod below the hull of the ship and has been an industry benchmark in environment-friendly cruise technology since its launch in 1990.

“We are truly honored to be part of this breakthrough project for China’s first home-built cruise vessel,” said Peter Terwiesch, president of the Industrial Automation division, ABB. “ABB has a long-standing history in delivering electric, digital and connected solutions to the cruise market globally, and with our strong local experience and proven solutions, we are committed to support China’s current and future cruise demands.”

The package also includes a complete electric power plant concept with electricity generators, main switchboards, distribution transformers and a propulsion control system for moving the Azipod units from the bridge. The Azipod units can be fully integrated with the electric power plant and propulsion control system for optimal energy efficiency, the company said. The digital system includes remote diagnostics capabilities, which enable connectivity to ABB Ability Collaborative Operation Centers. Overall, ABB’s technology will boost the performance of the ship while increasing passenger comfort, fuel efficiency and lowering emissions.

The vessel will support a growing Chinese cruise market, which is expected to rival that of the United States over the next decade or two, according to the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association. With the potential of China’s vast consumer market, as well as rapid developments in domestic shipbuilding, the country is expected to generate a significant demand for cruise travel in the next decade and is widely anticipated to become one of the world’s leading cruise nations.

As the maritime industry moves towards new energy sources and autonomous operations, ABB’s electric, digital and connected technologies are redefining the future, bringing new levels of reliability, efficiency and sustainability to shipping in China, and across the globe.

The new vessel will be part of a fleet of Chinese-built cruise ships operated by CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd., a joint venture between Carnival Corporation Plc and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). Shanghai Waigaoqiao is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSSC.

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