The Italian shipbuilding industry holds a prominent position on the global stage, rooted in its rich heritage and artisanal excellence.

Renowned for crafting luxury yachts, cruise liners, and high-quality commercial vessels, Italian shipyards rank highly in the Global Order Book—a comprehensive compilation of global naval orders published by Boat International.

Azimut Benetti tops the global ranking with a 14% market share, followed by Sanlorenzo. Moreover, other prominent Italian shipyards and groups, such as The Italian Sea Group, Overmarine, Baglietto, and Cantiere delle Marche, also contribute to the industry’s success.

Global recognition highlights Italian shipyards as leaders, specializing in refurbishing and modernizing existing vessels, drawing clients from across the globe.

Furthermore, Fincantieri, an industry heavyweight, underscores Italy’s maritime influence as the foremost cruise ship manufacturer worldwide. Italy also holds a significant presence in the naval vessel segment.

Opportunities abound for foreign suppliers in the Italian shipbuilding landscape.

Indeed, opportunities abound in the realm of ‘green’ technologies and advanced eco-friendly materials. Additionally, there is potential in process management techniques, an area where foreign counterparts often outperform their Italian counterparts.

Italy boasts several regions with strong capabilities:

  • Liguria, especially Genoa and its surroundings, are well-known for their expertise in building commercial ships, yachts, and pleasure craft.
  • Tuscany, with coastal cities such as Viareggio and Livorno, hosts many shipyards focusing on luxury yacht construction.
  • Campania, encompassing the Naples and Salerno regions, excels in producing cruise ships and commercial vessels, leveraging well-equipped shipyards and extensive industry experience.
  • Veneto, including Venice and its surrounding areas, are well-known for its skill in luxury pleasure craft and high-end yacht manufacturing.
  • Marche contributes to the maritime industry through yacht construction, repair, and maintenance.
  • Sicily’s shipyards along the coast, such as those in Palermo and Messina, concentrate on commercial and cruise ship construction.

Strengths of the Italian Shipbuilding Market

Italy’s expertise in refit and repair services attracts clients globally, showcasing the country’s leadership in shipyard capabilities. Surpassing its perennial competitor, the Netherlands, and shipyards in Northern Europe, Italy has become the world’s top exporter in the nautical shipbuilding industry. This achievement, marking a historic record of nearly $3.6 billion, makes up 18.3% of the global export market. Following closely behind is the Netherlands, with almost $2.8 billion, holding a 14.3% share, relinquishing the top spot to Italy after several years. Meanwhile, the United States maintains its third position with $2.1 billion and a 10.8% share.

Attaining the top position in such a concentrated market, where only a few producing countries are specialized, becomes an even more prestigious accomplishment for the Italian nautical shipbuilding industry.

Moreover, the sector of boats and yachts with inboard engines is the most significant in Italy’s exported values: $3.2 billion corresponds to almost 90% of the entire Italian nautical shipbuilding sector.

The nautical industry is estimated to have a turnover of approximately €7 billion.


Monique, HISWA

The Holland Yachting Group represents the Dutch superyacht industry. It consists of superyacht builders, design companies, system integrators, construction specialists, architects, and marine equipment suppliers.

I would like to thank you for the highly successful trade mission. Our participants were very impressed with the programme and the appointments made. You have left a very professional impression, and, at the same time, your knowledge of the maritime industry was excellent.


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