Photo: AAL

AAL boosts MPP fleet with 6 ships

Singapore-based heavy-lift project carrier AAL Shipping has decided to expand its multipurpose (MPP) vessel fleet with both newbuilds and secondhand ships.

Image Courtesy: AAL

The company has announced the progress of its ‘third-generation’ multipurpose shipbuilding programme that will see AAL add at least four mega-size heavy-lift units to its fleet.

The newbuilds will feature innovative design, heavy lifting gear and optimized MPP cargo intake and handling capability, according to the carrier.

As informed, the 32,000 dwt ships will each have three heavy lift cranes and are fully compliant with forthcoming IMO CO2 emissions regulations. The vessels will also feature other new technologies in line with the company’s digitalisation and sustainability objectives.

“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,” Kyriacos Panayides, Managing Director of AAL, explained.

He added that the vessels will 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 … tramp solutions worldwide.”

What is more, the company has acquired two heavy lift ‘mega-size’ 33,000 dwt W-Class multipurpose vessels 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 the carrier over the past eight months – comprising two heavy lift G-Class vessels, the AAL Galveston and AAL Genoa and two ‘mega size’ W-class units, the AAL Paris and Grey Fox – these vessels have helped to grow the company’s owned fleet to 569,600 dwt and render the carrier control of 80 percent of its current 711,200 dwt operating fleet.

“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,” Panayides continued.

“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,” he concluded.