AAL Shipping (AAL) is capitalizing on the frequency of sailings it has operated in the past 12 months between Asia and the Americas, to commit tonnage and resources to strengthening the trade lane going forward into 2021. With the recent experience of carrying a much broader portfolio of cargoes into Central America, United States Gulf of Mexico (USG), and the United States East Coast (USEC) and having gained the trust of a growing customer base within the USA, South East Asia (SEA), and China, it is committing to one sailing a month and employing multiple vessel types from its young specialist multipurpose vessel (MPV) fleet.

AAL Brisbane (A-Class: 31,000 dwt HL ‘mega size’ MPV) discharging Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) in Mexico.
AAL Brisbane (A-Class: 31,000 dwt HL ‘mega size’ MPV) discharging Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) in Mexico.

Michael Morland, General Manager of AAL Americas and based in Houston, Texas explained; “Our service connects South East Asia, the Far East, USG and the USEC and we are well placed to service cargoes and parcels of any size. A lot of the smaller cargoes tend to be booked at origin in Asia, whereas project cargo is often booked from within the USA, like renewables into the USG and Energy and liquid natural gas (LNG) sector projects. This view is simplified but holds true in terms of a trend. We are however noticing a slow shift towards more project cargo influence from Asia.”

“Despite a lot of experience on this trade lane, building the market to justify regular monthly multipurpose (MPP) tramp sailings has taken time and hard work. Looking back a few years, volumes could not be relied on and we saw long-standing players pull out. We do not take our recent success for granted and are pleased with how well the market has taken to our service integrity. Our local market knowledge and presence – both in the USA and Asia – coupled with a fleet well-suited for the trade allows for continued commitment and optimism.”

AAL’s fleet comprises various sizes of heavy lift MPP vessels, that offer cargo intake of up to 40,000 cubic metres and heavy lift of 700 tonnes max. With two thirds of its vessels in the ‘mega size’ MPV segment (30,000+ DWT), AAL’s ability to parcel-up big and small cargoes of any type on frequent monthly sailings, as with the Asia – Americas Trade Route offers significant economies of scale to all customers.

AAL foresees that President Biden’s Administration will continue a strict line on trade with China but anticipates a more constructive dialogue that will lead to increased trade volumes between the two superpowers. The carrier also forecasts increased cargo volumes to South America.

Morland added; “As our service from Asia enters through the Panama Canal, we are seeing increased inquiries to the North of South America and Central America. The deviation to discharge in these ports is not necessarily big, so we can be competitive when there are cargoes suitable. There are signs of investment in oil and gas, infrastructure, and renewables, so we are in the perfect position to increase our fleet deployment into the region given the right opportunity.”