Specialist multipurpose carriers and long-standing collaborators, AAL and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), are entering a global cooperation that will see both carriers expand their trade route coverage, sailings frequency, and MPV fleet capacity. The cooperation will create a joint Far East – Middle East MPV Liner Service, served by five MPV vessels and a scheduled bi-monthly rotation. It will also see the expansion of HMM’s services portfolio with global tramp solutions, and semi-liner services provided by AAL. Both carriers will remain independent and promote these expanded services under their own respective brands.
The new Far East – Middle East MPV Liner Service will provide regular and scheduled sailings for breakbulk, project heavy-lift and general cargo shippers with five highly flexible MPV vessels (four 30,100dwt 640-Class from HMM and one 31,000dwt A-Class from AAL) on a 15 and 30-day sailing rotation. The service will connect the Asian markets of China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore with the Middle East via the Persian Gulf and Red Sea routes. Capacity and port coverage will be jointly coordinated, but each carrier will issue separate schedules to their customers, who’ll be able book space on any vessel serving the trade.
Namir Khanbabi, Chartering & Operations Director of AAL, explained, “AAL has run successful MPV liner services between Asia and its key trade partners for more than 20 years, and our expertise in collecting and combining multiple cargo types and parcel sizes on regular scheduled sailings provides significant value and efficiencies for our customers in multiple industry sectors.
“By pooling our resources with HMM, we can each offer more comprehensive service portfolios with improved frequency, capacity, coverage, and economies of scale for our customers. There will be no collaboration on pricing and we will each pursue bookings under our own respective brands, with separate commercial teams and bills of lading.
“The intention is to expand the service to six vessels, with an additional A-Class vessel by 2019. As more global projects become active in 2018 and multipurpose cargo volumes rise – as has been widely forecasted – we aim to be in pole position to competitively service this demand, whatever the cargo and wherever the destination.”
HMM is also expanding its portfolio with a range of global bespoke tramp solutions and semi-liner services – connecting the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia – operated by AAL. These flexible and multiple award-winning services are powered by a fleet of MPV vessels that combine extreme heavy-lift capacity with market-leading cargo intake and are served by AAL’s renowned in-house operations and engineering teams.
Seung-il Park, General Manager of HMM, commented, “We’ve established a leading position with Korea’s dynamic energy and infrastructure industries, operating regular multipurpose sailings between Asia and the West. These same customers can now take advantage of the exciting new services that our cooperation with AAL will bring, without seeing any change to either the team or the process by which they make their current bookings.
He concluded, “There are no immediate plans for a more expanded cooperation but, should there be meaningful opportunities to generate further value for our respective customers through an expanded collaboration, this will be thoroughly reviewed as and when.”