In what is perhaps the first harbinger of life under a provincial government that has delayed two major projects (Massey Bridge and Site C Dam) and is trying to cancel a third (Trans Mountain), AAL has announced that they are restructuring their current ‘Pacific Service’ from a rigid monthly liner service to an on-demand semi-liner model. The carrier emphasised that Canada and America remain important regions for project and general cargo movement and geographically significant for AAL and that this change will allow AAL to meet currently reduced levels of demand, whilst remaining flexible and competitive.
“Project cargo volumes and freight rates in the region today are at unsustainable levels for an operator that puts quality and customer service above everything else. We also forecast that these tough market conditions will continue for the next 2 years. Therefore, instead of operating a scheduled monthly ‘Liner Service’, we can satisfy our customers with a more flexible ‘Semi-Liner’ model and re-deploy tonnage and other resources elsewhere.’ said Bernard Huizenga, Director of AAL Canada.
He added, ‘Our new Semi-Liner Pacific Service will offer flexible port calls between Asia and the USWC and Canada and be tailored to suit customer demand and cargo shipping / delivery schedules. We will plan optimum timing for each sailing and select the most suitable sized tonnage for purpose – ultimately resulting in greater efficiencies for our shippers. The new model will also provide close synergies with our existing ‘US Gulf Semi-Liner Service’ and together they will offer the market highly accommodating and competitive solutions.’
Felix Schoeller, General Manager of AAL’s Pacific Service explained, ‘AAL has grown into one of the world’s leading multipurpose carriers by forecasting market change and trends and adapting our operations and services accordingly. We will continue to monitor the Canadian and USWC markets – their key industry sectors and potential cargo movements - as well as other key regions around the world, ready to expand our services and operations and seize opportunity at the right time.’
‘There is no change to our longstanding presence and infrastructure in Canada and the USWC, with both our Vancouver and Houston offices continuing to be managed by top shipping professionals, with excellent credentials in their respective local markets. Our customers and contacts will see no change in the high quality of service they expect from AAL.
At the same time, AAL announced that it will continue to expand its fleet, with the addition of further 33,000dwt ‘W-Class’ multipurpose vessels - something that will positively impact its local operations.
Schoeller explained, ‘These young ships are owned and managed from within our Group and perfectly complement our existing fleet with their market leading in-take and extreme adaptability to load and accommodate multiple cargo types & sizes – including dry bulk commodities. They will combine with our owned 31,000dwt ‘A-Class’ vessels to give AAL pole position in the ‘Mega Size’ mpp vessel category (30,000+ dwt vessels) and offer our customers highly competitive economies of scale on every sailing.’