AAL AMERICAS CELEBRATES ITS 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SERVING THE LOCAL MULTIPURPOSE & PROJECT CARGO COMMUNITY

23/04/2024

Left to right: Eugene Nutovych, Senior Chartering Manager, AAL Americas, Henrik Hansen, General Manager, AAL Americas, Christian Johnson, Regional Operations Manager, AAL Americas, Grant Leal, Voyage Operator, AAL Americas, Pavao Kopic, Chartering Manager, AAL Americas and Jacqueline Berry, Sales Manager, AAL Americas

Premium project heavy lift carrier, AAL Shipping (AAL), has reached yet another important milestone in its ongoing expansion programme – the 10-year anniversary of ‘AAL Americas’. Established in April 2014 and headquartered in Houston, the local team has overseen the enduring success of the carrier’s regular Pacific trade to and from Asia, and trans-Atlantic services to Europe and the Middle East. With vast experience in serving long-haul and industrial projects around the world, combined with a unique fleet of mega-size heavy lift tonnage – able to parcel oversized project cargo alongside breakbulk and bulk commodities on any given sailing – AAL Americas has carved a niche for itself and high level of trust with a disparate customer base.

Henrik Hansen, General Manager of AAL Americas, explained, “Having local representation enables direct communication with clients and vendors within the same time zone and that is essential for running an operation where time and dependability is of the essence. Over the past decade and in response to China’s historically strong hold on critical materials supply required for renewable energy, zero-emissions vehicles and clean tech, the US has sought to build wider and more robust international supply chains and deepen its economic ties with more diverse import and export partners worldwide. With geo-politics strongly at the fore, beneficiaries of this US trade strategy have included South-East Asian markets like Vietnam or Thailand and the European market.”

In recent years, AAL’s operations in the region have reflected a strong growth in the manufacturing of industrial project components from Vietnam. Additionally, Thailand has also become an important and growing candidate as well as the Middle East and India. With a continuous and increasing demand for power generation, related industrial projects serve as a strong candidate for MPP deployment such as the construction of new LNG facilities in the US Gulf.

Hansen added, “Sustainability, driven by a vocal green lobby in the US, has also boosted the renewable sector with wind energy, solar and most recently hydro power coming more to the fore. Investment in wind energy in the United States has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. From 2018 to 2022, wind energy investment increased by 49%, outpacing all other kinds of energy generation except solar.

“In 2023, due to inflation, higher financing costs, and supply-chain kinks, actual US onshore installations reduced to only 6.4 gigawatts (GW), yet the prospects for wind energy remain strong due to increased tax credits and growing demand. Turbine orders increased by 130% last year to about 17 GW, with 80% coming in 2025 or later. In 2024, about 7 GW of wind power will be added. At the same time, wind turbines OEMs have taken advantage of the US inflation act to invest in domestic wind manufacturing facilities.”

US oil output is also projected to hit record highs in 2024 and 2025. According to a recent energy projection by the Energy Information Administration, average US oil output will increase to 13.2 million barrels a day in 2024, rising to 13.4 million barrels a day in 2025 – surpassing pre Covid-19 levels. North America will see 558 new oil and gas projects commence operations between 2024 and 2028 across the value chain. Of these, 74 will be upstream projects and 263 will be midstream with refinery and petrochemicals at 102 and 119, respectively.

The US is one of the biggest consumption entities in the world, hence its imported cargo flow is far larger than its exports. This can be a challenge for any carrier on the backhaul, but one that is mitigated by strong and regular support from the dry bulk market, where customers have been able to take advantage of the unique bulk handling capabilities of AAL’s multipurpose cargo fleet.

Hansen concluded, “With a mindset of following the cargo and loyalty to our customers, we have successfully managed to adapt to any changes in cargo types and flows and to meet the ever-changing requirements of our clients from any major port whether in North Asia, Southeast Asia, or Middle East. Operating in an industry which represents new challenges, often unexpected, on a regular basis, we treasure relationships and direct interaction with clients and vendors.
With a local team that comprises chartering and commercial experts, highly qualified engineers, and resolute operations personnel, we will continue to provide a 360-degree service and focus on maintaining and building these local relationships.

“2024 represents our tenth year as AAL Americas, and it could be one of our most significant. We have not only moved to new premises in Woodlands Texas – a fantastic location that allows us to grow the local team even further – but our newbuilding ‘Super B-Class’ fleet is set to underscore AAL’s reputation as a leader in the premium project heavy lift segment. These game-changing vessels, one of which will proudly bear the name ‘AAL HOUSTON,’ will allow us to cope with an even greater cargo volume and meet a much wider industrial project and customer demand. The additional tonnage will also allow us to strengthen our position in regions like Central and South America. South America’s East Coast particularly, with huge markets like Brazil and Argentina, offers great opportunity for infrastructure and renewable energy projects expansion and we look forward to embracing this new challenge in the near future. Here’s to the next 10 years!”

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