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.


AAL Shipping (AAL) has appointed Mumbai-based shipping company, Merchant Shipping Services PVT Ltd., to be its exclusive commercial agency representative in India – a move that will harness yet further the cargo opportunities available to local shippers through its expanding ‘Europe – Middle East/India – Asia Monthly Liner Service’ (EUMEIA) andregular trade lanes connecting India with the rest of the world. Established in 1996, Merchant Shipping is managed by a team of shipping professionals with a strong focus on global trade, delivering pan India multipurpose and project heavy lift cargo operations through a network of offices covering over 80 port & ICD locations across the region. 

Christophe Grammare, AAL’s Managing Director, explained the rationale and timing of this move for the award-winning project heavy lift carrier, ‘India is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies and leads the way with 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) allowance in multiple industry sectors. It is on an accelerated growth trajectory with 100 smart cities being built today, 100 new airports by 2035 and implementation of the world’s largest renewable energy expansion program. Its burgeoning project cargo demands are well served by our EUMEIA monthly liner service, trade lane sailings east and westbound through the region and sustainable fleet expansion programme that combine to deliver the market with regularity of sailings and dependability of service.

He added, ‘Merchant Shipping has an excellent shipping pedigree; knows the local sector we serve and its primary stakeholders well and is aligned with AAL’s commercial ambitions for the Indian market. We are looking forward to a highly successful cooperation.’

Mukesh Oza, Group President & CEO of the Samsara Group, India – parent company of Merchant Shipping – expressed his gratitude to AAL’s Management, ‘we are honoured to represent AAL in India through a dedicated professional team at Merchant Shipping that will effectively contribute to AAL’s Success as a prominent partner in India’s booming economy, and exponential growth within the infrastructure and project cargo sectors.’

AAL triumphs again in 2022 AT THE AFLAS Awards!

AAL Shipping (AAL), one of the world’s leading global breakbulk and project heavy lift operators, has been named ‘Best Shipping Line – Project Cargo’ at the 2022 Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain (AFLAS) Awards, held in Hong Kong on Wednesday 7 September.

The AFLAS Awards are a celebration of Asia’s freight, logistics and supply chain industry, and AAL beat off intense competition from the global sector’s leading carriers to win the award for a consecutive year. The award win follows a successful year for AAL in a project cargo market that has endured its share of ebs and flows. Over the last 12 months, AAL has been optimising its service model to adapt to changing market conditions and resulting in a number of significant milestones such as trade lane expansion, record-breaking shipments, sustainable fleet expansion, and the strenthening of its presence and sailings regularity in core global markets including Asia.

Felix Schoeller, Commercial Director of AAL, commented: ‘We are honoured to have won this award. To lift your customer service to the highest level is a hard process, demanding commitment and investment across all aspects of the organisation. To maintain such a reputable status for consecutive years truly reflects an outstanding achievement from all of AAL’s Asia-based offices, supported by our global operations. Noteworthy is that such performance has been delivered in the midst of challenging times for the Asia market, characterised by highs and lows for the local shipping sector and residual fall-out from the global COVID pandemic still being dealt with.’

Jack Zhou, AAL’s General Manager and Chief Representative in China, added: ‘AAL has been extensively involved in the Asian project cargo market for almost three decades and, as we’ve grown our local presence, Asia has similarly prospered. We have served many of the biggest names and most exciting industrial and infrastructure projects in the region. Such recognition of our hard work is warmly appreciated and we accept this award on behalf of the whole company.’


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). Lifting took time as the tugs weighed significantly more than expected, due to trapped water and fuel. Working throughout the evening on the second tug, the full weight of the tug stayed on our ship’s cranes overnight – awaiting the salvage company to pump out whatever was still trapped inside her.’

Yabsley added, ‘As the proposed position of our vessel during the salvage operation impacted the swing basin for critical port operations needed to keep Tasmanian supply chains open, we worked closely with the Harbour Master and Pilots to avoid impacting other port movements. The removal of the sunken tugs allows Devonport to return to normal operations.’

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald estimated that more than 100 people worked on the project, ‘We not only had the significant challenge of tide and weather, but also the natural eddies in the area and potential marine pollution. TasPorts worked closely with EPA Tasmania, which had representatives on site to advise on environmental management. The insurers and salvors, that have extensive international experience, say it was one of the most complex salvage activities they have ever undertaken. The salvage itself was slow and deliberate and reflects the detailed and collaborative planning that was required to complete the operation successfully.’

Frank Mueller, General Manager of AAL Australia concluded: “This operation would not have been possible with either a container or ro-ro vessel, which is ironic as in this period of extended port and terminal congestion across Australia, those vessels are being prioritised over MPP and general cargo vessels for port entry slots and our resulting waiting times are severe and imbalanced. It not only showcases the versatility of our modern heavy lift fleet and engineering capability but also demonstrates AAL’s commitment to the Australian market as, unlike other operators, we have serviced the region nonstop for over 25 years – making AAL an easy and obvious choice for United Salvage”


AAL Shipping’s (AAL) longstanding ‘Asia to Australia East & West Coast Liner Services’ successfully delivered a series of five project cargo shipments from China to Eastern Australia for a major brownfields coal project in Mackay, Queensland).  Harnessing several of AAL’s 19,000DWT S-class fleet of heavy lift vessels and commissioned by global logistics provider Geodis Australia, the shipments transported berth components of varying sizes from Shanghai and discharged in Mackay.

The brownfields project involves the disassembly and replacement of one of the existing berth and shiploaders to improve cyclonic wave immunity to terminal operations. The site is located within the lease boundaries of the Hay Point Coal Terminal, approximately 38 kilometres south of Mackay, Central Queensland.

Shipment one carried heavy lift components from China to Mackay, to facilitate the on-site installation of new berth modules. The cargo comprised of temporary steelworks including walkways, platforms, huts and piles – the latter between 2m and 53m in length. Shipments two, four & five from China transported components in support of preparatory works including modification of existing concrete caisson berth foundations, disassembly and removal of the existing berth and ship loader and on-site installation, tie-in and commissioning of new berth modules. Shipment three, from China to Henderson on the Australian West Coast, comprised 86 frames and walkways and enabled the off-site fabrication of new berth topside modules (decking, ship loader rail beams, conveyor galleries and sections) and the new Shiploader (SL2A).

Frank Mueller, General Manager of AAL Australia, explained, ‘We have worked extensively with Geodis Australia over the years, and they know the experience of our local team and the regularity and flexibility that our Asia to East and West Coast Australia Liner Services have delivered for 27 years. The Australian market has been experiencing significant terminal congestion issues, extended waiting times and increased port charges. The success of our operations involves the careful handling of these challenges – either mitigation of potential port congestion and detention charges, or schedule optimisation by remaining flexible and having the ability to add inducement ports, when required. This is why AAL has maintained its reputation and standing when other carriers have either reduced their local presence or pulled out of the trade altogether.’

Nicola Pacifico, Global Head of Engineering at AAL and speaking on behalf of the engineering team at AAL Shanghai who planned most of the shipments into Mackay added, ‘Cargo components were loaded in Shanghai from barge, truck and wharf – depending on their unit size – and carefully stacked and secured these on deck into tiers of three and four units high to ensure as much cargo as possible could be safely stowed on each sailing. Local COVID restrictions in China meant that our Cargo Superintendent could not physically attend loading, instead we monitored activity via live video feed and online comms with our Master and crew.  Before the Pandemic, remote supervision of such operations was rare. Today, it is a fact of life and all our teams have been extensively cross trained to execute work under these forced conditions.’


Come and meet our AAL Americas Senior Representatives and Top Management at Breakbulk Americas 2022 from 27 – 29 September 2022 at Houston, Texas.

Find us on stand G41 Halls A&B

Pre-book an appointment with an AAL Representative at BB Americas 2022 by sending an email to: chartering@aalshipping.com


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.