Shipbuilding is a risky business; it is as cyclical as it is capital intensive, and fleet expansion can mean make or break for a shipyard’s customer: the shipping line. Shipping lines can be divided into cruise lines and freighters. While cruise lines operate ships to carry passengers, freighters employ vessels to transport cargo. With a 44 percent share of the global cruise market, Florida-headquartered Carnival Corporation was ranked as the largest cruise line worldwide in 2016. The group owns brands such as AIDA Cruises, the Cunard Line, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises. Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in 2016, based on gross tonnage.
The world’s leading shipyards include South Korea’s DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries, Japan’s Imabari, and China’s China State Shipbuilding Corp.