Departure of the liner MSC Grandiosa on October 31, 2019 in Saint-Nazaire. - L. Venance / AFP

A record contract for the Chantiers de l'Atlantique. The Italian-Swiss shipowner MSC has placed an order for 2 billion euros with the Saint-Nazaire shipyards for two new liners, available in 2025 and 2027 and powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), announced on Sunday the Elysée .

This firm order is accompanied by the signing of two memorandums of understanding with the shipyards, potentially involving 4 billion euros of additional investment, the executive said, ahead of the "Choose France" summit on Monday in Versailles. . Details will be released this afternoon.

Gas and sailing liners

According to the Elysée Palace, the construction in Saint-Nazaire of the two new liners with 6,700 passengers each will generate "14 million hours of work, corresponding to 2,400 jobs for three and a half years".

The agreement also provides for the development of a new class of LNG liners as well as that of a new prototype of boats propelled partly under sail, effectively integrating the "best environmental innovations", the cruise sector. being regularly accused of polluting massively. LNG is a fuel that does not emit sulfur dioxide and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 20%, and fine particles by more than 95%.

The executive notes that these orders and memoranda of understanding are "in the wake of 15 boats already built by the shipyards for MSC over the past 20 years" and refers to "13 MSC ships" which will leave Saint-Nazaire in the decade to come.

The acquisition by Fincantieri examined

Last November, the delivery to Saint-Nazaire of the MSC Grandiosa was preceded by the cutting of the first sheet of the "MSC Europa" from the World Class series. This ship, to be delivered in 2022, will be the first LNG-powered liner built in France.

It is this type of ocean liner that the Chantiers de l'Atlantique will therefore deliver in 2025 and 2027, the acquisition of which by the Italian Fincantieri is the subject of an in-depth investigation opened by the European Commission.

The European executive has until March 17 to decide on the takeover, which could harm competition in shipbuilding.


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