HLPFI reviews the shortlisted entries for the Heavy Lift Awards 2021 Ship Operator of the Year Award, sponsored by Trans Global Projects.

This award will be presented to a carrier that has demonstrated its ability to successfully and efficiently support the movement of heavy and oversize project cargoes around the world by sea in the past 12 months.

Entries should demonstrate the carrier’s ability to adapt its business to challenging market conditions and the changing needs of its customers.

Entries must be from a company that operates at least 4 vessels on long-term charter contracts. The entries can include tramp, liner or semi-liner service operators, including breakbulk, ro-ro, container, semi-submersible and deck carriers that serve the heavy lift market.

AAL Shipping

ship op - AAL

AAL Shipping’s entry highlighted the lengths that it has gone to ensure quality and commitments to customers throughout the global pandemic, while expanding its fleet and services to cater to the market needs.

Examples of new technologies adopted, including its 24/7 performance optimisation control room (POCR), have been use to optimise routing, consumption and safety.

Among other examples, the ALL Shipping entry also showed evidence of how the carrier has been supporting its crews around the world during what can only be deemed an unprecedented year.


ship op - CMA

CMA CGM operates a fleet of more than 550 containerships on 285 regular services worldwide. This wide coverage, offering regular calls in all the main ports throughout the world has helped it develop into a standout carrier supporting the project logistics sector. 2020 saw the carrier move 1,200 breakbulk items – among them being 135 railcars for a high-speed rail project in the UK.

dship Carriers

ship op - dship

dship Carriers’ rise over the past seven years has been eye-catching. Today it operates an impressive fleet of 20 modern, multi-purpose vessels, also under long-term and short-term charter.

A firm focus on HSE and staff wellbeing was central to a well-rounded entry that included details on how the carrier is improving its environmental credentials, as well as information pertaining to its UNITED digitalisation strategy.



The FESCO fleet includes 11 container trucks, two universal dry-cargo vessels, four multipurpose ice-class ships, as well as an ice-breaking transport vessel.

FESCO completed numbers of complex logistic projects including but not limited to the transportation of turbines and gold mining equipment in the past 12 months. New technology is at the front of its service offering, that has a core focus on safety at sea.

Grimaldi Group

ship op - grimaldi

Grimaldi Group’s entry followed an environmentally focussed line, with details surrounding its newbuilding programmes. Seven innovate PCTCs had been added to the carrier’s roster in the past 12 months. Then, in February 2021, the group ordered six new G5-class ro-ro/multipurpose ships for the transport of rolling freight and containers, to be delivered in 2023-2024, featuring some of the latest green technologies.

SAL Heavy Lift

ship op - SAL Heavy Lift

Industry heavyweight SAL Heavy Lift has had a busy year, integrating with Intermarine and later establishing the Jumbo-SAL-Alliance. Alongside these strategic moves, SAL continues to undertake the most complex shipping operations in partnership with its reliable and expansive semi-liner tramp service.

United Heavy Lift

ship op - UHL

United Heavy Lift executed one of the most challenging shipping campaigns for BHP’s South Flank Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 480,000 freight tons of cargo was delivered on a modern, homogenous fleet. Coordinating such a project, while negotiating stringent biosecurity laws and Covid-19 quarantine requirements, were highlighted in detail.

The winner of this year’s Ship Operator of the Year Award will be announced in October.

Find out more: www.heavyliftawards.com