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).


Specialist heavy lift project carrier, AAL Shipping (AAL) has acquired two heavy lift ‘mega-size’ 33,000dwt W-Class multipurpose vessels (MPVs) from the second-hand market, the ‘AAL Mars’ and the ‘AAL Merkur’. The vessels have been serving within the Carrier’s operating fleet worldwide on a commercial management basis. Along with four other acquisitions made by AAL over the past eight months – comprising two heavy lift G-Class MPVs (25,800dwt each) the ‘AAL Galveston’ and ‘AAL Genoa’ and two ‘mega size’ W-class MPVs (33,000dwt each) the ‘AAL Paris’ and ‘Grey Fox’ – these vessels have helped to grow AAL’s owned fleet to 569,600dwt and render the carrier control of 80 percent of its current 711,200dwt operating fleet.

AAL has also announced the progress of its ‘third-generation’ multipurpose (MPP) ship building programme. This will see AAL add a minimum of four mega-size heavy lift MPP vessels to its fleet – ‘premium heavy lift carriers’ featuring innovative design, heavy lifting gear, and optimised MPP cargo intake, and handling capability. They will each be 32,000dwt, with three heavy lift cranes (350t each and 700t maximum lift) and fully compliant with forthcoming IMO CO2 emissions regulations. The vessels will also feature other new technologies in line with AAL’s digitalisation and sustainability objectives.

Kyriacos Panayides, Managing Director of AAL, explained, “We have been planning our third generation building programme for several years now, patiently waiting until such time that market forecasts and projected cargo demand within key customer verticals proved sustainable for this kind of investment. AAL drew upon 26 years of multipurpose heavy lift operational experience to design innovative vessels that would not only accommodate all today’s multipurpose cargo types, but also handle the growing size of project cargo components being planned for key industry verticals like wind. The newbuilds will be deployed in support of our customers’ large-scale global projects both on our regular monthly trade routes between the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia and our bespoke tramp solutions worldwide.”

He concluded, “In 2021, the MPP shipping sector has experienced phenomenal growth, despite still operating in the throes of the global COVID-19 pandemic and severe port congestion. As a project heavy lift cargo specialist, AAL continues to prioritise breakbulk and project cargoes and servicing the needs of our traditional and long-term customers. This fleet development strategy not only builds our capacity on core trade routes between the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Oceania in support of these customers, but also gives AAL greater decision-making control of our fleet going forward.”


AAL Shipping (AAL) has appointed local Busan-based multipurpose and project heavy lift specialist, Wallem Korea, as its exclusive commercial and port agency representative in South Korea with immediate effect.  The Agency is part of the Wallem Group, which was founded in 1903 and has an extremely well-established office network across Asia, offering world-class front-line shipping agency support to shipowners. Wallem Korea takes over AAL’s South Korean representation from the carrier’s own office that was based in Seoul.

Christophe Grammare, AAL’s Commercial Director explained, ‘South Korea has always been integral to our operations and AAL has had a consistent representation in the market for over 10 years, serving the local multipurpose cargo shipping community with a wide range of flexible ocean transportation services. These include scheduled liner operations, regular trade lane sailings and tramp services that connect the region with key trading partners in Asia, Oceania, Middle East, Europe and the Americas.’

He added, ‘Wallem Korea has a strong reputation and experience within the South Korean market and will shortly be expanding its local physical network, so our ambitions to comprehensively grow this market are very much aligned. We are looking forward to working together to enhance our commercial presence and penetrate the local market further with our range of highly competitive multipurpose and project heavy lift cargo solutions.’    

Cargo and operations enquiries for AAL in South Korea can now be made to:  Jay Shim at Wallem Korea / telephone: +82 10 3552 2330 / email:  korea@aalshipping.com


This Summer, AAL Shipping (AAL) delivered four of the largest rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) in the carrier’s history to the Port of Oslo (Oslo Havn KF), Norway. These new generation mobile units, measuring 36 m in height and 28 m in length, were transported from Taicang in China to Oslo on a single sailing aboard the 31,000 deadweight ‘mega-size’ multipurpose vessel (MPV), the AAL Pusan.

The cranes were engineered and manufactured by Kalmar, part of Cargotec and Rainbow-Cargotec Industries Co. Ltd (RCI) in Taicang and will help to deal with the increased volume of container arrivals from Asia and Europe at Norway’s busiest port – a facility that handled 1.5 million metric tonnes of containers in 2019 alone.   The four cranes had a combined weight of almost 700 tonnes. Three of the cranes were fully erected and the fourth was loaded in parts, using the AAL Pusan’s port-side heavy lift cranes (700 tonnes max lift). They were transported from China to Norway along AAL’s monthly ‘Asia – Europe Trade Route’. They will be deployed at the Port of Oslo, Norway’s main logistics hub that handles about 80% of the country’s imported containerised goods.  

Eike Muentz, General Manager Europe, AAL, commented; “This particular cargo was booked through our Finland office in Porvoo – part of our expanding European office network. Demand for regular and dependable services between Asia and Europe has grown exponentially in 2021, as markets rush to address shortfalls in scheduled development projects and shortages in general stock and commodity levels, depleted due to the pandemic lock-down of the past 18 months. In this sense, we are not just moving project heavy lift cargo like these cranes, but smaller breakbulk parcels, general cargoes, dry bulk commodities, steel, and containers.”  

AAL operates one of the multipurpose shipping sector’s largest fleets of specialist MPV heavy lift vessels, comprising both mega-size (30,000+ deadweight tonnage) and smaller tonnage vessels. These are deployed worldwide, serving the carrier’s tailor-made tramp chartering services, regular fixed trade routes and scheduled monthly liner services.  


Valentine’s Day 2021, the AAL Kembla set sail from Rotterdam on a voyage from Europe, through the Persian Gulf and onto Shanghai in China – as one of six 31,000dwt A-Class heavy lift multipurpose vessels employed on AAL’s ‘Europe, Middle East / India – Asia Monthly Liner Service’. On the journey eastwards, she loaded close to 37,000cbm / 15,000mt of project heavy lift, breakbulk and steel commodity cargoes. These included multiple private yachts – the longest of which was 23m -, a 33m tall mobile harbour crane weighting 370mt, 16 power transformers with a total weight of 1,583mt, a 41m long dredger and components weighing 584mt and four giant circular baskets with an average circumference of just under 52m. The smallest parcel she carried was just 1.8mt and 2.5cbm.

Eike Muentz, General Manager Europe, commented, ‘The cargo carried on this particular voyage serviced over 30 shippers and upwards of 10 multiple industry projects along the route, including wind energy, infrastructure, oil and gas and mining. The volume and wide range of cargo types featured on this voyage illustrates the supreme flexibility of the A-Class and the growing dependency upon a breakbulk-style of shipping from global shippers who would normally put their smaller breakbulk and steel commodity cargoes into containers – but cannot, due to increased costs and limited capacity.

He added, ‘Even with significant COVID restrictions, unparalleled port delays and cargo readiness issues, AAL’s monthly liner service between Europe and Asia has thrown a lifeline to all types of shippers and all sizes of parcel. It is credit to our crews, engineers and operations teams, who have worked tirelessly on the front line throughout the pandemic and kept these voyages on schedule and our customer cargoes moving.’

AAL’s owned fleet of heavy lift multipurpose vessels has grown by 117,600dwt in the past eight weeks alone. This brings the carrier’s operating fleet to a total of 711,200dwt and comprises multiple vessel sizes, with 14 of these featuring a maximum lifting capacity of 700t and many of the larger ‘mega-size’ vessels offering up to 40,000cbm cargo intake volumes.  The fleet serves AAL’s growing portfolio of multipurpose cargo services, which includes monthly sailings on the ‘Asia – Americas’, ‘Asia – Europe’ and ‘Atlantic’ trade routes, scheduled liner services ‘Asia – Australia’, and ‘Europe – Middle East / India – Asia’ and additional tramp solutions around the world.


AAL Shipping (AAL) has successfully achieved latest 2020 IMO Intact Stability Code standards with its heavy lift cargo handling procedures and new levels of sailings efficiency and safety through its ground-breaking ‘Performance Optimisation Control Room’ (POCR), ensuring its multipurpose (MPP) services remain at their peak. AAL holds a strong track record of operational integrity, engineering innovation, and cargo safety – maintaining schedule commitments on all services throughout the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Its reputation for dependability has helped AAL expand its portfolio over the past 12 months with a regular trade lane presence in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East where monthly services run in parallel with its global tramp and well-established liner operations throughout Asia and Oceania.

Nicola Pacifico, Head of Transport Engineering at AAL explained; “The 2020 IMO Intact Stability Code is currently only mandatory for new vessels. Nevertheless, we decided to harmonise these new standards across our fleet and operations. In the past, carriers were free to set their own standards governing stability when lifting heavy cargoes and shippers either accepted them or not. Now the bar is pre-set, and carriers will need to prove in advance that the stability of their ships and heavy lift operations is guaranteed. This is a major step forward for setting higher safety standards within the sector and demonstrate the capabilities of one carrier compared to another.”

In terms of sailings efficiency, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions reduction, AAL is proactively undertaking a number of measures to enhance its performance. Through its POCR facility – developed and operated by Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) – AAL is harnessing state-of-the-art routing, weather, and sea conditions technology to remotely monitor and plan every aspect of each sailing from a remote facility manned 24/7 by a team of expert shipping technicians. Voyage recommendations are then returned periodically to each Master with optimised routing, sailing, and fuel consumption recommendations.

AAL’s Operations Manager, Valentin Gherciu, concluded by saying; “The next step on our journey to enhanced sailings efficiency and lowered CO2 emissions is the implementation of a new ‘Motion Response Analysis’ (MRA) programme. The output of this programme coupled with machine learning tools afforded to us by the POCR, will enable AAL to make even more efficient voyage calculations in terms of fuel consumption and how to reduce the same. Our commitment to this cause was also the driver for AAL’s recent adoption of next generation hull coatings to our fleet that will reduce resistance through water and thus lower the engine power and fuel consumption required. In combination with strict hull condition monitoring and maintenance, not only can sailing costs be achieved, but also a reduction to the fleet’s all-important CO2 footprint.”


AAL demonstrated the lifting and cargo intake capability of its mega-size A-Class fleet and parcelling capabilities of its ‘Asia – Americas Trade Lane’ chartering team with the transport of a heavy lift barge from Taicang, China to Papeete, Tahiti. The barge weighed-in on hook at 410t and measured over 53m in length and 3,657 cbm, and was stowed on the 31,000 dwt AAL Dalian with another 29,000 cbm of cargo comprised of large and small parcels loaded in China, South Korea, and Japan to be discharged along the US West Coast and Gulf.

Yahaya Sanusi explained; “The barge was designed by Alwena Shipping in France and arranged to be built at the Yangzhou Hairun Shipyard, China. Our own planning for this heavy cargo operation started in September 2020 providing time to analyse technical details of the lift and make pre-preparation recommendations to the customer, like welding special padeyes onto the deck of the barge to facilitate safer lifting by the AAL Dalian’s port side cranes, without the need for lifting beams.”

Floris Schorsch, Managing Director of Martin Bencher France SAS, added; “It was important for us to deliver a high-quality solution for our customer, with a focus on cost control, risk management, and schedule integrity. AAL not only had the cargo expertise we needed but was also active on the transpacific trade with suitable tonnage options. The safe transport of this cargo required a lot of planning and coordination between us, the customer, and AAL. Ultimately, the loading onto the AAL Dalian was well executed and all parties fully satisfied.The barge will eventually be deployed by owner, Travaux Maritimes de Polynesie, in the French Polynesia for civil works.”

Felix Schoeller concluded; “The Asia to Americas trade is one that we have employed significant resources into developing and have served with a sailing practically every month. With our extensive liner experience, we can put together voyages for large and small parcels of practically any cargo type. This is perfectly evidenced on this sailing, which accommodated steel pipes, containers, large tanks, cooler units and turbines, electrical equipment, a heavy lift dismantled crane, and of course Martin Bencher’s barge – and all at the same time. This type of parcelling means cargoes can be transported faster and with significant economies of scale for every shipper, big or small.”


AAL Shipping (AAL) is taking delivery of two additional ‘G-Class’ multipurpose heavy lift vessels, expanding its core fleet to 720,200 total deadweight (DWT). The Pacific Action and AAL Gladstone have both served in the AAL fleet in the past and re-join later this month – the former renamed this week, ‘AAL Gibraltar’.  These versatile and relatively young vessels feature a total cargo intake of 35,705 cubic meters, four large cargo holds, three tweendecks and a maximum lift capacity of 240 tonnes – ideal for trading all manner of project heavy lift, breakbulk, steel and dry bulk commodities.   They join one of the sector’s largest and youngest fleets that already consists of two sister vessels, AAL Genoa and Pacific Alert (TBN AAL Galveston) and will operate worldwide in support of AAL’s well established monthly liner services, regular trade routes and tailormade tramp chartering solutions.

Kyriacos Panayides, Managing Director of AAL, commented, ‘We are delighted to have secured these vessels. Large heavy lift multipurpose ships of this calibre and lifting capability represent a small fraction of the global MPP fleet and AAL is uniquely well experienced in optimising their operations and harnessing their strengths in order to generate value for our customers’ global trading demands. They will add much needed capacity to a portfolio of multipurpose shipping services that have grown exponentially over the past 12 months.’

‘Since February 2020, we have built a scheduled monthly liner service between Europe, Middle East and Asia, a regular monthly tramp service between Asia and the Americas and frequent sailings from Asia to Europe – all this in addition to our Asia- Australia Liner Services and global Tramp Chartering operations. It has been an extremely busy and sustained period of growth for AAL and these new ladies will help to drive that momentum forward.’

Marc Willim, General Manager of AAL’s Chartering Team, added, ‘The G-Class are large 25,800 dwt MPVs, that complement our fleet profile. Global trading is only now emerging from the negative impact of COVID and also important multipurpose cargo sectors like oil and gas are still pressured.  However, there is growing optimism and the recent surges in the container and commodity markets have demonstrated the importance of being flexible and ready to serve cargo demand and from wherever it may come.

‘We are seeing market economies begin to strengthen and rebuild in confidence across Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Americas and trade war machinations of 2020 resolve. Energy, steel, infrastructure, bulk and general cargoes are all trading worldwide. Carriers like AAL, that have the expertise, trade route infrastructure and fleet capability to parcel these big and small cargoes on the same sailings and deliver worldwide will be in a position to offer shippers timely solutions and highly competitive economies of scale.’


AAL Managing Director, Kyriacos Panayides, will be participating in the upcoming JOC Webcast ‘Breakbulk Shipping: The MPP Fleet Prepares for The Global Energy Transition’ on 25 March 2021 at 11 AM. 

After weathering an utterly unpredictable 2020, the multipurpose and heavy-lift fleet is charting its 2021 course ahead of an energy transition that will require rethinking many long-held assumptions. Last year kicked off with IMO 2020 and a major bankruptcy — Zeamarine — in the MPP sector; no one could have foreseen that these issues would quickly become secondary as COVID-19 and the resulting crash in oil prices upended the global economy. A “green recovery” is now accelerating the global push to decarbonize energy sources, but what does this mean for project and breakbulk carriers? What can shippers and service providers expect to see in terms of trade lanes, available capacity, and freight rates from MPP carriers? This webcast will open with a fleet overview and be followed by a discussion of the sector’s outlook with executives from dominant MPP players.

For more information on the JOC webcast, and to register for FREE, click here.