The 31,000dwt ‘mega-size’ heavy lift vessel, ‘AAL Kobe’, transporting two heavy lift single-point mooring (SPM) Buoys along AAL Shipping’s (AAL) ‘Europe – Middle East / India – Asia Monthly Liner Service’ (EUMEIA), from Jebel Ali in Dubai to offshore anchorage in the Persian Gulf.
Since establishing its AAL Middle East representative office in Dubai in early 2015, AAL Shipping’s (AAL) commercial presence in the region has grown to the point that the carrier is operating at least one scheduled multipurpose heavy lift cargo sailing through the region each month (via its Europe, Middle East / India, Asia Liner Service), with additional tramp sailings in support of customer demand. Connecting the Middle East with these markets and developing trades with Southeast Asia, the US and Africa, AAL is expanding its local capabilities with the promotion of Karim Smaili to General Manager – Middle East and the appointment of a Cargo Superintendent, Denis Elmanov, to oversee its local project cargo operations.
Karim Smaili, General Manager of AAL Middle East commented, ‘The Middle East has witnessed significant economic diversification and expansion of its industrial trade relations and capabilities over the past few years. The region is not only importing project cargo to meet local need but also exporting steel and locally fabricated project heavy lift components. We are also seeing trade lanes expand and develop with Southeast Asia, Africa and the US strengthening ties on the back of widespread international reengagement with the region and geo-political uncertainty surrounding other areas of the world. With our well-established trade routes connecting all these regions, we can provide the global ocean transport solutions needed.’
He added, ‘AAL’s growth within this highly competitive market can be attributed to the regularity of our sailings, dependability of service and flexibility of our cargo operations – especially with the complex cargoes we often carry and the challenges of the market and in-port operations before and during the pandemic. As well as already operating monthly liner sailings on the busy trade From Europe to Asia via the Middle East and India, we are also looking at westbound sailings from Asia to the Mediterranean and Continent calling India and the Persian Gulf en route.
AAL’s Managing Director, Christophe Grammare, concluded, ‘A strong and well-established local presence is important to helping us deliver the service standards that the market has come to expect from AAL – especially considering that the economic outlook for the Middle East and its multipurpose cargo trade is very positive.
‘The region will continue to be a beneficiary of inward investment from companies looking for stability in energy costs and availability – so infrastructure is planned to support that development. There are also power generation, oil and gas and other industrial projects coming into focus and, with Cop28 taking centre stage in the UAE (November 2023), there will be more attention paid to the expansion of renewable energy infrastructure and sustainability projects like smart cities. These developments, along with ongoing social changes are indicative of reforms throughout the Middle East to expand and diversify its economy and international trade and AAL is incredibly happy to be on the frontline to support that.’