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.