AAL Shipping has confirmed two additional heavylift multi-purpose ships ordered by parent Schoeller Holdings will join its fleet.

DCN earlier reported that Schoeller had place orders for two further two 32,000 DWT Super-B type vessels with Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding, part of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

The Super-Bs are 179.9 x 30 metres with a draft of 15.5 metres and are equipped with 3 x 350-tonne capacity cranes that can be combined to lift 700 tonnes, but the two extra vessels, to be named AAL Newcastle and AAL Mumbai, will have that capacity lifted to 800 tonnes thanks to an upgrading of crane capacity to 400 tonnes.

The design features two large box-shaped cargo holds optimised for dry bulk, featuring adjustable pontoon triple decks and no centre line bulkhead. The deck space and capacity are more optimised, in line with the concept of green shipping construction and better cost performance.

AAL CEO Kyriacos Panayides said the new order brought the company’s newbuilding fleet up to eight vessels and 256,000 DWT. “This is a strategic move to strengthen our global industrial projects foothold and boost our capacity and service levels on major shipping lanes connecting Oceania, Asia, Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

“A huge investment of this kind for our third-generation newbuilding plan is not something we take lightly, as it was made with our project customer cargo needs on top of mind and combining 30 years of experience in this challenging and demanding industry we serve – a true leap into the future. We are incredibly proud of all the work that has gone into the innovative design and development of this fleet,” Mr Panayides said.

Meanwhile, AAL MD Christophe Grammare celebrated that the maiden voyage of the first of AAL’s Super B-Class fleet, AAL Limassol, had already broken all voyage performance records for AAL, with over 77,000 freight tonnes of cargo booked onto its planned journey from Asia to Europe.

“(It has) a broad mix of project heavy lift and general cargo includes two 135-metre-long barges – 1,650 and 1,425 tonnes respectively – fifteen 80.5-metre wind blades, modules, trucks, transformers, a dismantled crane and much more besides. This demonstrates the objective of achieving greater economies of scale for our shippers as compared to most other MPVs,” he said.

“Looking into the future, the trend in industrial project cargo is towards fabricating larger and more complex components, and we need to be ahead of that curve. These new ships’ unique design … allows them to also accommodate the far bigger and heavier cargoes of tomorrow, ones that until now may have been out of our reach.”