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AAL EXPANDS PRESENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN SUPPORT OF POSITIVE TRADE OUTLOOK FOR THE REGION

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.

AAL loading a luxury superyacht weighing 200 tonnes at the Dubai port of Jebel Ali. The USD11 million yacht was loaded on AAL’s 19,000 dwt S-class vessel – the 19,000 DWT HL MPV ‘AAL Fremantle’ – which was operating on our ‘Europe, Middle East / India, Asia’ (EUMEIA) Monthly Liner Service. 
Breakbulk and project heavy lift carrier, AAL Shipping has delivered a cable carousel measuring 23 m in diameter (73 m circumference) to Taiwan.
The cargo was loaded in Jebel Ali and transported on deck of the 19,000 dwt heavy lift (HL) multipurpose vessel ‘AAL Nanjing’ to the project marshaling port Taichung.  

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.’

AAL TRANSPORTS 20,000FRT OF IRON ORE RECLAIMER COMPONENTS FOR NMT IN AUSTRALIA

AAL’s scheduled monthly ‘Asia to Australia West Coast Liner Service’ (AUWC) recently provided the perfect solution for global project logistics provider NMT and its client, industrial engineering giant Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions. The operation involved the transport of 20,000 freight tonnes of fabricated break-bulk reclaimer components from Henderson to Port Hedland in Western Australia – infrastructure that will uplift the port capacity of an iron ore mining facility in Nelson Point. The lift, stowage and transport of these units – the largest of which was the bucketwheel boom at just under 65 metres long – was undertaken by the crew of the AAL Nanjing, working in close cooperation with AAL’s transport engineers who had been planning the operation since the start of the year.

AAL’s Head of Transport Engineering, Nicola Pacifico explained, ‘Due to the large and unconventional size of the reclaimer components, which covered a total area on the vessel of more than 1,800 square meters, the lifting and stowage challenges were significant. The seven-month design and planning period for the operation involved AAL working alongside NMT and Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ project management team, engaged in weekly online meetings from early February. The collaboration proved successful, and the cargo was safely discharged in Port Hedland on schedule for onward transport to Nelson Point, where it will be used in the handling of iron ore.’

Jayme Bailey, Senior Project Manager at NMT Global Project Logistics, stated ‘our collaborative, team-oriented and hands-on approach proved a winning recipe for all stakeholders on this important project. Buy-in from our trusted service providers and a shared willingness to go the extra mile ensured the project was executed without issue, on-time and more importantly, on budget.’

Frank Mueller, General Manager of AAL Australia concluded, ‘We are delighted to continue our strong track record for NMT and Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, both of whom we are proud to have worked with in the past on domestic industrial projects across Australia.

‘The local multipurpose shipping market is still challenging since COVID, with port disruptions and labour issues affecting schedules and normal operations. The Australian project sector itself has also experienced upheaval and will continue to weather difficult external conditions until a possible peak of investment of $A95 billion per annum in planned infrastructure between 2023-24 and 2025-26. We will therefore continue to ensure our services within the sector remain consistent and keep delivering for our customers despite any and all market challenges.’

THE ADDITION OF THAILAND & SINGAPORE BOOSTS SEA COVERAGE ON AAL’S ‘ASIA TO WEST COAST AUSTRALIA LINER SERVICE’ (AUWC)

Increasing its coverage of key Southeast Asian Markets, AAL Shipping (AAL) is adding Thailand and Singapore to is long-standing Asia to West Coast Australia Liner service (AUWC). 

The service was also recently bolstered with the addition of a third vessel – a 19,000dwt heavy lift multipurpose ship, the S-Class AAL Bangkok. This additional tonnage will not only increase cargo capacity but also enable a 25-day frequency on the service – ensuring that AAL customers continue to enjoy the most comprehensive and reliable scheduled breakbulk service from Asia into Western Australia. 

The new port calls will commence January 2023 with the AAL Gunsan voyage 23001, as reflected on AAL’s weekly liner service schedule available here: Sailings & Schedules – AAL (aalshipping.com)

For queries or freight inquiries, please contact us today at: Chartering@aalshipping.com

AAL HEADLINES SEAHORSE GLOBAL TRANSPORT JOURNALIST AWARDS 2022

AAL was the proud headline sponsor of the world’s top transport journalist awards, held in London on Wednesday 7th December 2022. The Seahorse Freight Association Journalist Awards, in partnership with AAL Shipping, celebrate the best journalism in supply chain, logistics, and transport, as well as recognising individuals who have gone above and beyond to represent the industry.

In front of an audience of over 200 top journalists from around the world, our company not only helped to organise the event, but opened the awards on the night with a speech from John Pittalis and presented the ‘Multipurpose Cargo Journalist of the Year 2022’ award to Sophie Barnes of HLPFI (collecting on behalf magazine Editor, Dave Kershaw). AAL’s ties to these awards go back to 2015.

Winners of the judged awards each received a cash prize, as well as being recognised on the night. The Seahorse Awards are open globally to any reporter, freelancer, or editor in the industry and aim to celebrate great journalism. The 12 award categories included: Journalist of the Year; Maritime Journalist of the Year; Supply Chain Journalist of the Year; Multipurpose Cargo Logistics Journalist of the Year; and Lifetime Achievement.

AUSTRALIA’S TALLEST TURBINE, CARE OF AAL!

Renewable energy developer RES Australia has reached a major milestone in the construction of the 180MW Dulacca wind farm in Queensland’s southwest, with the installation of the last of the project’s 43 turbines – the components of which were loaded in China and shipped to the site by AAL Shipping (AAL).

RES has marked the occasion with a snapshot of the final huge turbine standing in place at the project site in Queensland’s Western Downs region. The V150-4.2MW wind turbines, supplied and installed by Vestas and carried by AAL, are said to be the tallest installed in Australia, at nearly 250 metres from base to tip.  RES says construction of the project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

Between February and July 2022, AAL operated a series of shipments between China and Brisbane to transport heavy lift and project cargo components for the 181MW Dulacca Wind Farm. Employed by multiple global logistics companies, AAL’s shipments comprised all 43 Vestas wind turbines (towers and blades), transformers, electrical cables and other – a total of close to 375,000 freight tonnes (FRT) of cargo.

Andrew Mangan, Chartering Manager at AAL commented, ‘The shipments into Brisbane for Dulacca were loaded in several Chinese ports including Tianjin, Taicang and Yangzhou and we worked with multiple logistics companies in their execution, each with their own specific timeline and cargo requirements. We therefore utilised two different vessel classes on the project, our ‘mega-size’ 31,000 deadweight (DWT) A-Class and the more compact 19,000 DWT S-Class – to manage both large and small shipment sizes with as much efficiency and economy of scale for our customers as possible.’

Chris Yabsley, Chartering Manager at AAL Australia, added, ‘The wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power 124,000 homes and inject over AUD 400m into the local economy. The award of this project was a welcome recognition of AAL’s long-standing ‘Asia – Australia’ trade lane and expertise, which has served customers with a regular scheduled service for over 27 years. We are proud to be part of such an important local project and help to expand the use of sustainable green energy solutions in the country.’

AAL WINS BIG AT AUS SHIPPING AWARDS 2022

The pair were recognised in the Bulk & Specialised Shipping category for their partnership on a tug recovery operation in Devonport, Tasmania, this year

Singapore, 18 November 2022: AAL Shipping (AAL) has been named joint winner in the DCN Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry awards 2022, together with partner United Salvage, for their collaboration on the complex retrieval of two sunken tugs from the Mersey River in Devonport, Tasmania.

The Bulk & Specialised Shipping trophy was given in recognition of the pair’s combined efforts in recovering the tugs, weighing 420 tonnes and 455 tonnes respectively, which had been sunk by a cement carrier at the start of the year.

AAL’s 31,000DWT 700-tonne heavy lift vessel, the AAL Melbourne, was enlisted for the lifting operation and onward shipment of the tugs to Brisbane after previous salvage attempts were unsuccessful.

Following months of careful planning and modelling, and collaboration with key stakeholders including United Salvage, TasPorts, and cargo insurers, the recovery was completed in August.

Guests at the Awards, held in Melbourne last week, heard that in January 2022 two tugs in the port of Devonport were sunk after being hit by a cement carrier, creating a major environmental and pollution hazard, as well as blocking normal port operations and vessel movement.

AAL Shipping’s heavy lift vessel the AAL Melbourne – and United Salvage as the salvage and environmental support specialist – worked in tandem with various stakeholders including TasPorts to complete an intensive oil spill recovery followed by a complex salvage operation of the two sunken tugs.

“This win recognises the impressive and determined combined efforts of AAL and United Salvage in completing one of the Australia’s most complex salvage operations,” said Frank Mueller, General Manager, AAL Australia.

“United Salvage originally planned to use a floating crane and barge to recover these tugs, however, once we demonstrated that our A-Class vessel could not only recover the tugs but also transport them back up the East Coast for delivery to Brisbane, it was clear that AAL would be the perfect partner.”

The award was accepted by Drew Shannon, Managing Director, United Salvage, Melwyn Noronha, Chief Executive Officer of Shipping Australia and one of the judges on the panel during the awards ceremony in Melbourne, Australia.

The Bulk & Specialised Shipping award is open to all sectors involved in the process chain that handle bulk, breakbulk and project heavy lift cargoes.

Lockout of Towage Crews Planned by Svitzer Aus

Svitzer Australia has given notice of a lockout to all harbour towage employees and their union bargaining representatives, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), The Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) and the Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) to take place from 12pm AEDT, Friday 18 November, and continue indefinitely.

When the lockout becomes effective, no shipping vessels will be towed in or out of 17 Australian ports otherwise serviced by Svitzer. Therefore, would like to notify all our customers that this will impact shipping operations at major metropolitan and regional Australian ports nationwide in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

You can read the full Svitzer Australia announcement here: https://svitzer.com.au/media-release-14-november-2022/ 

We are closely monitoring the situation and will advise you of any developments and how these affect our normal shipping operations in the region. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact your AAL representative for any further information. Thank-you.

Regards,

AAL Management Team

AAL LIFTS SUNKEN TUGS FROM MERSEY RIVER

AAL Shipping (AAL) has undertaken a salvage operation to remove two tugs from the Mersey River in Devonport on the north-west coast of Tasmania that had been sunk by a cement carrier in January. Chosen for the job was the 31,000DWT 700 tonne heavy lift vessel, the AAL Melbourne, and involved the lifting of the tugs and their onward shipment along the East Coast to Brisbane. New South Wales based emergency response, salvage and environmental support specialist, United Salvage, engaged AAL to supply a vessel from its longstanding ‘Asia to Australia East Coast Liner Service’.

The first tug, the 420 tonne York Cove was carefully pulled out of the Mersey on Sunday 7th August by the AAL Melbourne using her two port-mounted cranes working in tandem – the tug having had large holes cut into her hull to allow trapped water and sediment to drain. The second tug, the 455 tonne Campbell Cove, was recovered and loaded onto the AAL Melbourne a few days later. Both tugs were securely lashed to the weather deck of the ‘mega size’ vessel in preparation for their onward shipment to Brisbane and utilising specifically designed cradles loaded previously in Burnie.

Chris Yabsley, Chartering Manager at AAL Australia commented, ‘United Salvage originally planned to use a floating crane and barge to recover these tugs. However, once we demonstrated that our A-Class vessel could not only recover the tugs but also transport them back up the East Coast for delivery to Brisbane, it was clear that AAL would be the perfect partner.’

Nicola Pacifico, Head of Transport Engineering at AAL, explained, ‘The recovery was carefully planned and modelled over several months and involved collaboration with several key stakeholders including United Salvage, TasPorts and cargo insurers. Even the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was required to confirm our calculations with our ship’s class (DNV).

Chris Yabsley
Chartering Manager
(AAL Australia)

DISASSEMBLED BERTH OPERATION IN AUS

AAL Shipping (AAL) successfully collaborated on the disassembly of Berth 2 at Hay Point Coal Terminal in Queensland and its subsequent shipment to Henderson, Western Australia for disposal. Comprising seven packages with a total weight of 1,412MT / 8,929CBM, the cargo was moved in a single sailing onboard the 19,000 deadweight S-Class 700 tonne max heavy lift vessel, the AAL Fremantle, for global logistics provider, Geodis Australia.

Nicola Pacifico, Head of Transport Engineering at AAL explained, ‘All aspects of the loading operation were extensively evaluated and planned – starting with the mooring of the AAL Fremantle to the old Berth itself where she was heavily exposed to wind, waves, current, tide and vessel motion. These conditions needed to be factored into the lifting methodology along with load spreading and cargo sea fastening. Having multiple contractors and authorities working simultaneously required the development of complex risk assessments and mitigation, emergency procedures and a coordination matrix to ensure that every stage was delivered to highest safety standards.’

‘Due to the complex nature of the lifting operation, we sent a Project Engineer and Cargo Superintendent from Singapore to oversee the loading and stowage operation – monitoring works throughout the unpredictable weather conditions we faced. The level of engineering and operational oversight that AAL provided was not only crucial to reducing risk, down-time, and operational costs, but provided our customer and stakeholders a high level of reassurance of a positive outcome – which we ultimately delivered.’

Ben Williams, Project Manager of Project Logistics at Geodis Australia, added, ‘This was a complex and demanding project shipment and required a huge effort from Geodis and AAL’s team, collaborating to execute safely and efficiently. Transporting heavy lift berth and shiploader components from Hay Point to Henderson required regular pre-planning meetings – not to mention constant onsite dialogue with AAL representatives who travelled from Singapore to oversee works. It was the first time that a heavy lift vessel had performed such an operation there and AAL’s solution was executed flawlessly.’

AAL EXPANSION RENDERS 90% FLEET CONTROL

First photo: 25,800 dwt ‘G-Class’ vessel.
Second photo: 33,000 dwt ‘W-Class’ vessel.

AAL Shipping (AAL) has added further vessels to its owned multipurpose cargo vessel (MPV) fleet. This month saw the delivery of the 2010 ‘AAL Gunsan’ (ex-BBC America) and her sister vessel, the 2009 ‘AAL Geelong’ (ex-BBC Valparaiso) – the latter taken over a few months ago. These are the last of four 25,800 deadweight (DWT) multipurpose heavy lift sister vessels (classified by AAL as G-class) secured through an acquisition transaction penned back in 2021 by AAL / Schoeller Holdings Group.

During the Summer, the AAL / Schoeller Holdings Group further acquired the ‘AAL Moon’ – a 33,000 DWT multipurpose vessel built in 2010 (classified by AAL as W-Class) and having previously served within the AAL fleet under commercial management since 2017.

Kyriacos Panayides, CEO of AAL, explained, ‘These acquisitions are perfectly in line with our continued fleet strategy to employ large MPVs which, through their significant cargo intake volumes, offer our shippers greater economies of scale on every sailing. Indeed, AAL is one of the leading ‘large tonnage’ MPV operators in the market.’

He added, ‘They also expand our multipurpose operating fleet to 864,800dwt, of which 90% is now fully controlled by AAL / Schoeller Holdings Group. This authority that AAL has over its operating fleet is important to the long-term sustainable expansion and deployment of our vessels; the strengthening of our global service model; and the frequency and flexibility demanded by our diverse global customer base. The vessels are being positioned across the world, in service of our monthly liner, regular trade lane and tramp chartering operations.’

Despite a challenging 18 months of global market upheaval due to COVID, the container boom and geo-political unrest, AAL has remained steadfast in support of its traditional breakbulk and multipurpose cargo customers – adding tonnage to, and improving frequency on, its core global trade lanes between the Americas, Africa, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia, and Oceania. In 2022, AAL has been recognized for its service by the multipurpose shipping community through two prestigious global carrier awards – ‘Ship Operator of the Year 2022’ at the Heavy Lift Awards and ‘Best Shipping Line – Project Cargo’ at the AFLAS Awards.

AAL AMERICAS BOOSTS TEAM & LOCAL SERVICE

AAL is strengthening its Americas division with several appointments to key positions over the past few months. These comprise the promotion of Henrik Hansen to General Manager; recruitment of highly experienced local MPP commercial executive, Jacqueline Berry to Sales Manager; elevation of Christian Johnson to Regional Operations Manager and hiring of Texas A&M University Maritime Administration graduate, Grant Leal, as Voyage Operator. These latest appointments will boost the US team’s service capability, as it handles regular sailings and cargoes through the region.

Newly appointed General Manager, Henrik Hansen, explained, ‘The Americas is an important market for AAL and our global customer base, and we have had a presence in the region for almost a decade. Today, we are operating regular sailings between the US, Europe and Asia and the reputation of AAL amongst local customers who represent multiple industry sectors has grown exponentially, and we have repaid their trust with a consistent multipurpose cargo service through the region, despite all market challenges.’

Felix Schoeller, Commercial Director of AAL added, ‘Having one of the most advanced fleets in the breakbulk and project heavy lift sector is all well and good, but it needs to be managed and operated by top people at every level. This year, AAL has won the sector’s top global carrier awards – given primarily by our peers for unrelenting commitment to service. Our excellent US team reflects that charter, to being the very best we can be and going the extra mile for our customers and partners.’

He concluded, ‘Only last month, we attended Breakbulk Americas 2022 in Houston and were delighted to engage with so many of our customers and contacts. We are committed to the region for the long term and are looking forward to developing this market further.’

AAL CROWNED ‘SHIP OPERATOR OF THE YEAR​​​​ 2022′

AAL Shipping (AAL) was named the ‘Ship Operator of the Year’ at the annual Heavy Lift and Project Forwarding International (HLPFI) Awards night, held in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday 22nd September.

AAL has remained committed to its project cargo customers over the past year, rerouting vessels, and adding capacity to its busiest services to bring shippers more choice and regularity.

‘We’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers, and to be recognised with this award for a second time is testament to our dedication in this endeavour,” said John Pittalis, Marketing & Communications Manager, AAL. ‘We strive to be the carrier of choice for majors in multiple industry sectors, as we push forward with projects to not only enhance our service but also to drive the sustainability of our operations for the benefit of the entire sector.’

Judges were looking for a carrier that has demonstrated its ability to efficiently support the movement by sea of heavy and oversize project cargoes over the past 12 months, demonstrating in particular the ability to adapt to challenging market conditions and the changing needs of customers. During this time, AAL continued to prioritise breakbulk and project customers despite the sharp growth in the container market within the MPP sector.

The last 12 months has also seen AAL acquire more than eight second-hand vessels and order six 32,000 dwt heavy lift ‘Super B-Class’ vessels, designed by its in-house engineers. The ‘Super B-Class’ vessels break new ground in MPP ship design and technologies, to optimise seafarer wellbeing as well cargo intake, while also running on dual-fuel engines, ready to harness new, greener fuels and support AAL’s charter to be a frontrunner for more sustainable shipping solutions.

See also AAL TRIUMPHS AGAIN AT 2022 AFLAS AWARDS!