Crisis in shipbuilding industry threatens to engulf Turku region
Steering group set up to stem unemployment surge
Turku and the surrounding region will have to make preparations to meet a massive structural change when the giant luxury cruise liner Allure of the Seas is handed over later this year at the Turku shipyard.
After the completion of this 1,181-foot and 225,000-tonne floating palace for Royal Caribbean International, the STX Europe yard in Turku has currently no further orders on its books.
The structural upheaval that is on the cards in the shipbuilding and metals industry will also spread right down the long sub-contractor chain: something like 160 companies and approxinmately 600 sub-contractors operate in connection with the yard.
STX Europe's Turku shipyard has built a series of giant cruise liners, each one larger and finer than the last, over recent years.
The yard's volume has consequently increased to match the demand, and much of the operation has had to be outsourced beyond the confines of the yard complex.
According to Ari Nousiainen, heading the structural change steering group in the city, the blow that is anticipated will be the heaviest in Finnish industrial history.
"Even if STX Europe's yard here were to sign a new order today, there would still be a hole of from a year to eighteen months' duration before work would actually recommence at the site. In addition, any new ship contract is almost certainly going to be smaller than those hitherto, and in other words the companies will in any event be forced to downsize accordingly", says Nousiainen.
The steering group has been set up to attempt to minimise the unemployment difficulties facing the Turku region. It will predict and monitor changes in the economic climate and decide on measures to affect the region's employment situation as positively as possible.
As well as taking members from the city administration, the group has brought in the Centre for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment from Southwestern Finland, the Turku Employment and Economic Development Office, and several other bodies.
It also has an expert secretariat with representatives drawn from the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), and the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).
Previously in HS International Edition:
World´s largest cruise liner launched in Turku (24.11.2008)
Government ready to help struggling shipyards to make it through recession (19.1.2010)
Mega cruise liner Oasis of the Seas completed on schedule (29.10.2009)