MSC Cruises and Palumbo Group form joint venture to operate the Palumbo Malta Shipyard

Antonio Palumbo, founder and chairman of Palumbo Group (seated left) fist shaking with Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises executive chairman, after the signing ceremony that was overseen by Transport Minister Ian Borg (centre, standing). Credit: Photocity

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  • The two companies plan to transform the Palumbo Malta Shipyard into a premier focused operation for cruise line, cargo, ferry and offshore ships
  • The Joint Venture is expected to generate significant economic benefits for Malta including demand for local specialist suppliers
  • Capital Expenditure committed to improve the operational and environmental efficiency of the shipyard   
  • MSC Cruises will use the shipyard as first port of call for its fleet in the Mediterranean
  • MSC Group cargo ships and ferries in the region will also use the shipyard
  • Other customers will continue to have access to the shipyard for all their repairs as well as to the rest of the Palumbo Group Network for their needs

MSC Cruises and Palumbo Group today announced they have formed a joint venture to operate the Palumbo Malta Shipyard.

The new Joint Venture sees MSC Cruises take a 50% stake in the shipyard and become an equal partner alongside the current owner Palumbo Shipyards. The shipyard has become an international, professional centre of excellence for shipping repairs over the last 10 years since Palumbo Group took it over.

A major upgrade is now envisaged for the shipyard to further enhance every aspect of its already market-leading operations, as well as intensifying its specialist cruise line focus. Capital expenditure has already been committed to improve the operational and environmental efficiency of the shipyard.

The Palumbo Malta Shipyard will receive custom from MSC Cruises’ vessels, as well as from MSC Group cargo ships and ferries, while continuing to serve the shipyard’s loyal clientele. The new joint venture will generate significant economic benefit for Malta including huge demand for local specialist suppliers to support the shipyard.

Of note will be the potential introduction of cutting-edge technology to allow servicing and repair of the next generation of LNG powered cruise ships being built for the MSC Cruises’ fleet. LNG is the greenest and most environmentally friendly maritime fuel currently available. This will support MSC Cruises’ objective of achieving zero environmental impact operations as part of its drive towards a more sustainable cruise line industry.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises said: “I am proud to be forming this joint venture with Mr. Palumbo and his group today. This is a natural culmination of our already warm and close relationship that has developed from the professionality he has shown over the years.  This announcement also represents a strengthening of our ties with Malta where we have five of our ships registered and plans for all our newbuilds to sail under the same flag. We look forward to the economic benefits this joint venture will generate for Malta, and to the professional service and repairs our vessels will receive.”

Antonio Palumbo, the founder and Chairman of Palumbo Group, added: “I am happy with this joint venture with the Aponte family because, in addition to having a personal and consolidated friendship over the years, it unites us with a common business philosophy. This agreement is not just a financial transaction but is aimed at strengthening our network and is part of a group corporate strategy.

Today I am proud to expand our services, consolidated over the years thanks to far-reaching experiences, through this partnership with a world-class player. I am sure that the future will prove us right, leading this shipyard to consolidate itself as one of the most important multi-purpose structures in the markets of cruise, merchant and advanced-technology ships, providing refitting services, general maintenance and installation of Eco-Friendly systems where Palumbo Shipyards already holds a leading position. Not least, the whole Maltese community will benefit from a new economic boost.”

Ian Borg, the Minister of Transport who was present for signing ceremony, said: “This partnership will give Malta added value and generate more economic activity.”

Palumbo Malta Shipyard

Located in Malta’s harbor, with an unrestricted entrance to the yard, Palumbo Malta Shipyard represents the one stop solution for refit, repair, maintenance and conversion able to welcome vessels of all types and dimensions. Served by one of the biggest docks in Europe, the yard is part of the important Maltese maritime cluster.

Yard Facilities and Services:

  • 4 Dry docks (from 98m to 360m length)
  • Refit, repair, maintenance and conversion
  • Afloat and ashore repairs
  • Electrical, hydraulic, mechanical services and all the works on aluminum and steel
  • Rail mounted cranes (up to 150 t lifting capacity)
  • Outfitting quay (providing abt. 1km mooring)

Crew Services:

  • Office space and secretarial support for owner representatives
  • Accommodation/ living and recreational areas
  • Gym
  • Spa
  • 5* rated crew accommodation (74 guests)