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AAL strengthens its footprint in the Middle East

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AAL Shipping’s commercial footprint in the Middle East has grown significantly since opening its AAL Middle East representative office in Dubai in 2015. Operating at least one monthly scheduled multipurpose heavy lift cargo voyage through the region via its Europe, Middle East/India, Asia Liner Service, and additional tramp sailings to meet customer demand, the carrier is strengthening its local presence.

By connecting the Middle East with markets in Southeast Asia, the US, and Africa, AAL is expanding its reach and enhancing its local capabilities. This has been achieved through the promotion of Karim Smaili to the position of General Manager for the Middle East and the appointment of a Cargo Superintendent to manage local project cargo operations. 

Karim Smaili, General Manager of AAL Middle East, commented, “The Middle East has witnessed significant economic diversification and expansion of its industrial trade relations and capabilities over the past few years.

Photo: Karim Smaili, General Manager, AAL Middle East

“The region is not only importing project cargo to meet local need but also exporting steel and locally fabricated project heavy lift components.

“We are also seeing trade lanes expand and develop with Southeast Asia, Africa, and the US strengthening ties on the back of widespread international reengagement with the region and geo-political uncertainty surrounding other areas of the world.

“With our well-established trade routes connecting all these regions, we can provide the global ocean transport solutions needed.” 

He added, “AAL’s growth within this highly competitive market can be attributed to the regularity of our sailings, dependability of service, and flexibility of our cargo operations – especially with the complex cargoes we often carry and the challenges of the market and in-port operations before and during the pandemic.

“As well as already operating monthly liner sailings on the busy trade route from Europe to Asia via the Middle East and India, we are also looking at westbound sailings from Asia to the Mediterranean and Continent calling India and the Persian Gulf en route.

AAL’s Managing Director, Christophe Grammare, concluded, “A strong and well-established local presence is important to helping us deliver the service standards that the market has come to expect from AAL – especially considering that the economic outlook for the Middle East and its multipurpose cargo trade is very positive.

Photo: Christophe Grammare, Managing Director, AAL Shipping

“The region will continue to be a beneficiary of inward investment from companies looking for stability in energy costs and availability – so infrastructure is planned to support that development.

“There are also power generation, oil and gas and other industrial projects coming into focus and, with Cop28 taking centre stage in the UAE (November 2023), there will be more attention paid to the expansion of renewable energy infrastructure and sustainability projects like smart cities.

“These developments, along with ongoing social changes, are indicative of reforms throughout the Middle East to expand and diversify its economy and international trade and AAL is incredibly happy to be on the frontline to support that.”

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