AAL launches regular heavy-lift service between Europe and Far East
AAL Europe has formally launched a regular heavy-lift shipping service between Europe and the Far East. AAL’s 19,000 dwt S-Class heavy-lift vessels with a maximum lift of 700 tonnes will form the “backbone” of the service, which is characterised by flexible port calls.
The service will offer regular sailings between Northern Europe, more specifically the ARA-region (Amsterdam- Rotterdam – Antwerp) and the Baltic, and the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East.
“The default routing from Europe will be via the Mediterranean, but we can also sail via West Africa depending on cargo demand,” says Eike Muentz, general manager at AAL Europe. “Our aim is to establish monthly calls from Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg and one or two additional loading ports in the Med.
The shipping company wants to ensure frequent sailings and provide tonnage options. For that reason, the regular sailings of the S-class vessels will be complemented by ad-hoc sailings of bigger ships. “We can draw upon any of the other vessel classes within our fleet, including the mega-size heavy-lift A-Class and W-Class of 31,000 and 33,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt), respectively,” Muentz says.
AAL has actually been operating S-Class and other vessel sizes on the trade between Europe and Asia since the start of the year. Muentz: “We have now built-up the sustainable cargo flow and broad market interest to justify employing more S-Class vessels permanently on the trade. With multiple cargo stowage configurations and a significant maximum lift of 700 tonnes, we can accommodate a huge variety of cargo types from project cargo, to breakbulk, steel and dry bulk commodities and all at the same time.”