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Hyundai, AAL breakbulk service to connect Asia, Middle East    07/02/2018
AAL and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) plan a joint multipurpose vessel service between the Far East and Middle East that will be the latest in a series of cooperative ventures between breakbulk and heavy lift carriers.

The new AAL-HMM service will operate five ships.

HMM's deal is not unique: joint services and other forms of cooperation are common among container lines. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

The new AAL-HMM service will operate five ships — four 30,100-deadweight-ton vessels (dwt) from HMM and one 31,000-dwt vessel from AAL. The plan is to add a sixth vessel next year, said Namir Khanbabi, operations and chartering director at Singapore-based AAL.

AAL and HMM will remain independent and market the new service under their own brands. “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,” Khanbabi said.

Joint services and other forms of cooperation are common among container lines. In recent years, breakbulk carriers have formed cooperative agreements to expand coverage and develop new business in a challenging market.

Last October, BBC Chartering and Jumbo Shipping formed a global alliance for joint bidding on specific projects.Other recent agreements include cooperation by MTL and UAL between North Europe and West Africa, and Intermarine and Marguisa between the Mediterranean and West Africa.

AAL and non-operating vessel owner Peter Döhle formed an alliance for breakbulk and heavylift services in 2015 but discontinued it last May. Also in 2015, AAL entered a space-sharing agreement with Swire Shipping that continues to operate between Asia and the East Coast of Australia.

The new AAL-HMM service will be biweekly and will connect the Asian markets of China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore with the Middle East via both the Middle East Gulf and Red Sea routes.

"By pooling our resources with HMM, we can each offer more comprehensive service portfolios with improved frequency, capacity, coverage and economies of scale,” Khanbabi said.

He said the new service will be ready for what analysts have forecast will be an upturn in global project activity later this year.

HMM said it is expanding its market coverage with tramp and semi-liner services to the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, using AAL-operated vessels. AAL ranked sixth in deadweight tonnage, with 629,000 tons of capacity in 21 vessels, and in

Seung-il Park, general manager of HMM, said in a statement that, "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."


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