Late November 2021, AAL Shipping (AAL) announced the launch of its third-generation newbuilding plan with the initial order of four 32,000 deadweight (DWT) premium project multipurpose vessels and classifying them the ‘Super B-Class’. The design of these vessels was a collaboration between AAL’s engineering and commercial teams working alongside sister company, Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) – responsible for over 270 newbuilding projects in top yards around the world. The carrier, which already operates a fleet of 25 heavy lift multipurpose vessels (MPVs) on busy trades globally, has now increased its order of the Super B-Class to SIX vessels and released first images, technical and design details of how these revolutionary premium project carriers will live up to their ‘super’ name.

Nicola Pacifico, Global Head of AAL’s Transport Engineering Department, explained, ‘These vessels were designed to be the most efficient and competent MPVs in the water. They will perfectly complement AAL’s fleet and service profile and, in their design, we harnessed all of our engineering team’s expertise in handling heavy lift, breakbulk and dry bulk cargo since 1995. The Super B-Class will have the capability to accommodate safely more than 60,000 freight tonnes (FRT) of cargo on a single sailing and literally any cargo big and small. The already significant clear weather deck space of 146 x 26 metres will feature unique extendable pontoons that can increase stowage space even further, as well as allowing certain cargoes to safely overhang the deck when required, like wind blades. 

‘With the bridge and accommodation block positioned forward, our crews will have unobscured sailing visibility and no physical restriction on cargo height. Moreover, the vessels can also sail with open hatch covers, enabling extremely tall and over-dimensional units to be stowed safely in hold space. And, despite significant cargo intake volume and size (vessels will be just shy of 180m in length), the hull design of the Super B-Class will deliver a 6.5 metre minimum draft, allowing AAL to call far smaller and more remote ports, which is perfect for employment on dedicated large projects.’ 

Yahaya Sanusi, Deputy Head of AAL’s Transport Engineering Department and the naval architect responsible for many of the ideas incorporated into the vessels’ innovative design added, ‘Three heavy lift cranes positioned along the vessels’ port side will feature 350t lift each and combinable up to 700t max. Tandem lifting can be done in combination with both crane number 1 and 2, and crane number 2 and 3.  This enables cargo loading at both the fore and aft of the vessel – optimising deck space and capacity and mitigating the need to lift large project cargo into just one area and move it by other means into final stowage position which is time and labour intensive.  The cranes are also designed with a wider outreach of 35.7 metres at higher lifting capacity and render far more flexibility and options when loading large and / or heavy units.’ 

Under deck there will be two box-shaped cargo holds, one a staggering 68 x 25 metres, and the other 38 x 25 metres and with a height of 15.6 metres. They also feature adjustable pontoon triple deck capabilities as required, to optimise cargo intake. With no centre line bulkhead, the holds are designed to perfectly accommodate dry bulk commodities and optimised for stowage of dangerous IMO cargoes. 

The Super B-Class will be dual fuel and methanol ready and run-on MAN main engines of 7,380 kW – supported by 2 x 1,700 kW and 1 x 1,065 kW auxiliary diesel generators.   The vessels will be NOx Tier III compatible with HPSCR, EEDI phase 3 compliancy, featuring a projected service speed of 14.5 knots. They will also feature modern ballast water treatment systems and innovative hull coating that delivers greater fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Overall, the Super B-Class will meet the highest possible automation and emission standards, as well as complying with IMO regulations on emissions and sustainability for environmental protection. 

Five of the Super B-Class will be named after major breakbulk ports: AAL Antwerp, AAL Hamburg, AAL Houston, AAL Dubai and AAL Dammam. The sixth vessel will proudly bear the name AAL Limassol, in tribute to the town where AAL’s story first began in 1995.


Project heavy lift specialist AAL Shipping (AAL) has delivered 456 metric tonne industrial tower components to the US West Coast.  The cargo was loaded in South Korea onboard the 31,000-deadweight heavy lift AAL Pusan and transported across the Pacific to the Port of Everett in Washington on AAL’s enhanced ‘Asia – US Trade Route’.  Cargo handling was further complicated by strict Covid-19 restrictions at multiple ports of call, which required AAL’s global team of engineers in Singapore, Performance Optimisation Control Room technicians in Cyprus, and the vessel’s Master and crew communicating seamlessly.

The tower components were transported on behalf of global logistics provider Geodis Freight Forwarding and will form part of a vacuum distillation unit (VDU) at a US petroleum refinery. The unit produces several types of gas oil that are heavier than middle distillates such as jet fuel, kerosene, and diesel. These distillates can be further refined to make products such as light-cycle oil, gasoline, and naphtha.

Nicola Pacifico, Global Head of AAL Transport Engineering, commented, ‘The main cargo unit was 50 m long and weighed 456 metric tonnes. As is usual with complex oil and gas components, the technical requirements were extremely detailed, and we prepared 114 pages of Method Statements to comply with engineering and operational demands of the transport. Despite significant port restrictions due to Covid-19, our Master and his crew worked seamlessly to execute cargo handing instructions to the letter. And, whilst the AAL Pusan was crossing the Pacific in poor weather, we received 24/7 sailing and weather updates and routing analysis from our Cargo Optimisation Control Room team in Cyprus.’

Yahaya Sanusi, Deputy Head of AAL Transport Engineering, added, ‘The length of the cargo presented us with very tight clearance between the cranes, so meticulous modelling and simulations were undertaken to ensure the success of our lifting and stowage operations. We also prepared extensive load-spreading modelling, and FE-Analysis of deck structures used to ensure integrity and safety throughout. Our solution complied with stringent DNV ST-N001 Marine Operations Standards (the benchmark for offshore marine operations) and kept costs down for the customer.’

Felix Schoeller, Commercial Director of AAL, concluded, ‘Our Asia–Americas Trade Route sailings are performing very well, parcelling multiple cargo types for our customers on each sailing which allows us to offer significant economies of scale to every shipper, both large and small. Despite the proliferation of container cargoes in the multipurpose shipping sector, we have continued to prioritise our existing multipurpose and project heavy lift shippers.


Top Image: ‘The AAL Shanghai lowering the Alma Doepel into the water – October 2021′
Bottom Image: ‘An archive image of the Alma Doepel at sail.’

In October, AAL Shipping (AAL) freely donated its operational and engineering expertise to help re-launch a historic Australian sailing ship, the Alma Doepel a 118-year-old three-masted topsail schooner that was in dry dock for rebuilding, having served the Victoria Community as a youth training vessel with over 4,000 young local cadets to her credit. Approximately AUD $3.5 million and over 80,000 volunteer hours have been spent on returning the Alma Doepel to its former glory, and it is expected to take another two years and AUD $1.5 million to complete the restoration work.
The 31,000-deadweight heavy lift vessel, AAL Shanghai, was chosen to execute the Alma Doepel operation. She is one of six mega-size MPVs serving the carrier’s ‘Asia to East Coast Australia Monthly Liner Service’ and was calling Melbourne on a southbound journey from North Asia, to discharge a cargo of heavy lift transformers. After discharging her project cargo, she was met by a barge carrying the newly refurbished hull of the Alma Doepel and, using her onboard heavy lift cranes, carefully lifted and manoeuvred the historic ship back to water after an eight-year absence.
The Alma Doepel was built in 1903 to transport goods such as timber, wheat, and jam around the coast of Australia. As part of its rich 118-year history, during the Pacific War she proudly served as a supply vessel to the Australian forces in New Britain (the present Papua New Guinea). And now, with more history still to be written, the Alma Doepel is the figurehead of a youth development programme to introduce young Victorians to seafaring and help them build resilience and awareness. 

‘It is very important that as an industry we do what we can to keep Australian maritime history alive. AAL has been part of the Australian shipping community for over 25 years and to have played a role in preserving the Alma Doepel and her legacy was an absolute honour,’ said Frank Mueller, General Manager AAL Australia.

On behalf of the Board of Sail & Adventure Ltd., Restoration Project Director Peter Harris OAM thanked AAL for their assistance and professionalism in returning the Alma Doepel to water.

AAL operates scheduled monthly liner services between Asia and East and West Coast Australia, employing 10 young multipurpose heavy lift vessels along its two trade lanes. In 2022, to satisfy a growing demand for its cargo services, AAL will be deploying a further two 19,000 deadweight S-Class heavy lift vessels to its Asia – East Coast Australia Service.


Under the careful stewardship of General Manager Europe, Eike Muentz, the AAL Europe Team has grown exponentially over the past 18 months.  Managing the operations of AAL’s popular ‘Europe – Middle East / India – Asia Monthly Liner Service’ and multiple other regular services that connect Europe with the Middle East and Asia eastwards and the Americas to the west, AAL Europe comprises a group of chartering, commercial , engineering and operations professionals with in depth local and international multipurpose cargo handing expertise.  
The Team was joined on the day of shooting by AAL Managing Director, Kyriacos Panayides and General Manager, Felix Schoeller – both visiting from Singapore.

From Left to Right:
Sarah Walter (Team Assistant, AAL Europe)
Marc Brockmann (Commercial Manager, AAL Europe)
Eike Muentz (General Manager, AAL Europe)
Jan-Henrik Heyken (Senior Chartering Manager, AAL Europe)
Kay Goldenstein (Chartering Manager, AAL Europe)
Felix Schoeller (General Manager, AAL Headquarters Singapore)
Ricarda Lewandowski (Junior Chartering Broker, AAL Europe)
Markus Remmers (Voyage Operator, AAL Europe)
Kyriacos Panayides (Managing Director, AAL Headquarters Singapore)
Marco Wendt (Chartering Manager, AAL Europe)
Annabel Teege (Voyage Operator, AAL Europe)
Arne Engelken (Chartering Manager, AAL Europe)
Monique Haehre (Project Engineer, AAL Europe) 
Aleksei Vinnik (Cargo Superintendent, AAL Europe)
Thiemo Patzek (Cargo Superintendent, AAL Europe)

Eike and the AAL Europe team await your project heavy lift, breakbulk, steel , dry bulk, container and general cargo enquiries today at europe@aalshipping.com


The staff of AAL China – its Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao offices – have raised money through sponsorship of physical training activity for the Labu Hope Primary School in Yongning Town, Lijiang City in the Yunnan Province of China. The funds raised enabled AAL’s team to purchase and donate school uniforms, bed sheets, quilts, pillows and school stationery to the school. The Labu Hope Primary School, part of the nationwide ‘Project Hope’ initiative, is located 3,000 kilometres from Shanghai in a remote mountain region, where 120 underprivileged local children are provided with safe living accommodation and an education.
Project Hope is a Chinese public service project launched in 1989, to build schools in poverty-stricken rural areas of China and help children whose families are too poor to afford an elementary school education. Project Hope also seeks to improve educational facilities and teaching quality in poorer regions.

Jack Zhou, General Manager of AAL China, explained, “For the past few months, we have been running a staff project across AAL globally to get ourselves fit after extended COVID-19 lockdown, called ‘The AAL Amazing Race Around the Globe’.  As part of the initiative, the Management is kindly donating money for every KM run by every member of staff to a local charity designated by each regional office worldwide.
‘AAL has been active in China since 1996 and we are part of the fabric of this society – with all our team raised and educated locally. We could think of no more worthwhile beneficiary for the charitable funds raised by AAL China, than the Labu Hope Primary School and the well-being and education of our most vulnerable children. At this time of the year, when the cold sets in, we could also imagine no better gift for these children than that of warm clothing, bedding and school supplies.’


At the end of September 2021, the 19,000dwt heavy lift multipurpose vessel, the AAL Nanjing, loaded four large chimney sections, with a combined weight of close to 500 metric tonnes and 6,000 cubic metres in size. The units were manufactured and loaded in Humen, China, and shipped long-haul along AAL Shipping’s (AAL) popular ‘Asia – West Coast Australia Monthly Liner Service’ (AUWC) to Henderson in Australia for installation at the Kwinana Waste to Energy (WTE) Plant – the first thermal utility-scale WTE facility in the country.
The AUD $700 million Kwinana plant will create 800 jobs and is located 40 km south of Perth. It will process 486,000 tonnes of industrial and domestic waste every year to generate 36 MW of renewable bioenergy – enough to power 50,000 households – and avoid 486,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions normally emitted by Western Australia’s electricity grid.

Jack Zhou, General Manager of AAL China, commented, “AAL is a heavy lift project cargo specialist, so our engineering and operations teams were more than capable of planning and handling this operation – despite the extreme size of these units. We have a dedicated China-based team of chartering, commercial, engineering and operations specialists and their hands-on presence, local contacts, and expertise ensure our Chinese cargo operations run smoothly.
“In fact, the issues we did face were mostly due to local Chinese COVID restrictions, creating port congestion, slow productivity and unavoidable delays of anything up to two weeks. Heavy lifting operations of this kind require many hands-on-deck to assist with executing the complex shackling, lashing and stowage plan. On this occasion, local stevedores were not permitted to embark the vessel, and this caused delays and cost far more time and energy for our crew than would normally have been required.”

Frank Mueller, General Manager of AAL’s Asia – Australia Liner Services added, “Like the rest of the multipurpose sector, AAL is facing pressure and incentives from container shippers to carry yet more containers on our ‘mega-size’ vessels, to fill the gap left by container carriers and RoRo operators. Despite this, AAL will continue to prioritise the needs of our project, breakbulk, and heavy lift partners and our monthly liner services between Asia and Australia are operated for them, as they have been for the past 26 years.”


Team Iluka, proudly sponsored for the second year-running by AAL Shipping (AAL), completed the 2021 ‘MACA Cancer 200 Ride for Research’ cycling challenge in Western Australia.  The ride is a 2-day cycling event over Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October, with an overnight camp – riding between Perth and Mandurah.

Over 1,500 cyclists took part in the challenge this year and a grand total of 7 million dollars was raised to fight cancer and support medical research at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
The ride proved challenging for all members of the Iluka Team and whilst some of its best riders made it back in quick time, others slogged it out at the rear of the pack. It was a monumental effort by everyone in the Team and the money they raised will help a lot of people.
Congratulations to Team Iluka!


Since 1995, the AAL Australia team has spearheaded multipurpose heavy lift cargo services in the region, building and operating a scheduled monthly liner trade between Australia and Asia that has served mining, oil and gas, energy, agriculture and general cargo shippers for over 26 years.  With a fleet of best-in-class heavy lift vessels at its disposal and a growing team of commercial, chartering, engineering and operations professionals overseeing procedures 24/7, AAL Australia runs the most popular multipurpose cargo service in Oceania and has received numerous awards for dependability.  

From Left to Right:
Melanie Murray (Accountant), Jakob Zasada (Customer Service Representative), Chris Yabsley (Chartering Manager), Peter Williams (Sales Consultant), Jenny Gao (Senior IT Manager), Frank Mueller (General Manager), Catherine Roy (Operations Coordinator), Danny Wilson (Chartering Broker). Meliame Taipaleti (Chartering Coordinator), John Burton (Operations Coordinator), Ben Cai (Cargo Superintendent) and Russell Smith (Sales Executive)


Shipping Australia Ltd (SAL) is an association that represents Australia’s international ocean shipping industry, with membership comprising shipping companies, shipping agents and towage providers – a collection of top companies that employ more than 3,000 Australians.

Frank Mueller, General Manager of AAL Australia explained, “AAL is proud to be joining Shipping
Australia. We are confident that our extensive and very specialised project heavy lift and breakbulk
cargo experience within the Australian market will be of value to the organisation – especially
considering that our core customer base represents some of the most dynamic and important
industry verticals, like mining, power generation, agriculture, and infrastructure development.
“Australia is such an important region for AAL and our customers worldwide and has been for over
26 years. SAL is the perfect partner to make our collective industry voices heard – whether on a
political or general level.”

Shipping Australia CEO Captain Melwyn Noronha enthusiastically welcomed AAL as a new member.
“AAL undertakes a critical and specialised transport task that greatly benefits Australia. Our major
primary, manufacturing, and resources industries are wholly dependent upon seaborne breakbulk
and heavy lift seaborne transport services. Safe ocean transport of huge and extremely heavy
industrial equipment requires highly sophisticated engineering and project management skills and
experience. It is sophistication and experience that AAL possesses in large quantities.

“We are very fortunate to have AAL join us as a full member. AAL’s input and insight will be invaluable to Shipping Australia in our advocacy of policies that benefit the industry. We look forward to working with AAL. “And, of course, every new company that joins Shipping Australia strengthens the voice of ocean going carriers and members of related industries in Australia. But, more importantly, as a highly-functioning ocean shipping industry enables and boosts economic activity, a broadly-represented ocean industry can be successful in advocating for policies that benefit all the people of Australia,” Captain Noronha said.


The 31,000dwt ‘mega-size’ heavy lift vessel, AAL Kobe, recently transported 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. The buoys each weighed 340 metric tonnes and measured 16.4 x 15.9 x 14 meters. They were transported on behalf of DHL Industrial Projects and enable offshore interconnection with tankers, loading or offloading gas and liquid products.
As well as the issues of an extremely tight delivery schedule, and offshore wind and visibility considerations at anchorage – when discharging the two buoys in open water – the cargo’s shape and size posed load-spreading challenges for AAL’s engineering team when planning safe stowage on the vessel’s 3,000 square meter weather deck space.
Yahaya Sanusi, Deputy Head of AAL’s Transport Engineering Department, explained, ‘Planning took six weeks. The operation demanded exacting stowage requirements, including extensive load-spreading calculations, strict protection of filling pipes protruding from the bottom of both units and pin-point positioning by the Master and his crew to ensure optimum load and discharge space. In solution, temporary platforms were designed and constructed onto which the buoys would sit, comprising 750mm tween deck panels, additional heavy load platforms (HLPs) and wooden blocks.

He added, ‘We originally planned to ship only one SPM Buoy, so our solution was completely re-designed at some point. Despite this, sea fastening and lifting of both units proved no issue at all and was possible with our ship’s equipment. However, COVID restrictions meant that none of the engineering team could attend discharge which put pressure on the AAL Kobe’s formidable crew – especially with a constant risk of bad weather offshore. The operation ultimately proved a success and strong collaboration between the engineering team in Singapore, our Project Engineer Monique Haehre at AAL Hamburg, and Columbia Shipmanagement colleagues manning the ‘Performance Optimisation Control Room’ (POCR) facility in Limassol – whose 24/7 weather routing calculations and prognoses significantly helped sailing efficiency and operational safety.

Andy Tite, Global Commercial Head, DHL Industrial Projects, concluded “The close partnerships DHL holds with our carriers is imperative to our safe and effective operational performance. In this instance AAL completed the operations to the highest standards, which is not only a requirement of DHL but also our clients. This was all the more impressive as we were placed under some quite considerable pressure due to restrictive timescales and the addition of twice as much cargo as originally booked, AAL responded in a positive and supportive manner. We appreciate greatly their approach technically and operationally as well as their overall professionalism.


AAL Shipping (AAL) is proud to have been crowned ‘Best Shipping Line – Project Cargo 2021 at the prestigious Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain (AFLAS) awards.

More than 15,000 readers of Asia Cargo News had the opportunity to nominate and vote for contenders, meaning the result is based on the opinion of service users. The top eight firms in each category then appeared on the final ballot with the top four firms in each category creating the final shortlist before the eventual Winner was announced.

‘It is a great honour to have been awarded this important title and testament to the efforts and professionalism of the AAL team, to continue providing such a highly regarded service in the most trying of years,’ explained Christophe Grammare, Commercial Director, AAL Shipping (AAL).