Intra Oceania Lines for ANL – Melbourne, Australia

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Interview with

Mr. Chris Peck
General Manager


ANL is a strong brand in the Australian market.  Could you first of all elaborate a bit on the history of ANL?  I believe the abbreviation stands for Australian National Line but in today’s context, you belong to a global group, right?

Yes, that is correct. ANL is a container shipping operator with its roots firmly planted in Australian soil. Originally owned by the Australian government, ANL was purchased by CMA CGM, who is one of the leading container carriers and logistics operators in the world, in 1998. 

With the shackles which were associated with government ownership released, ANL has enjoyed many years of significant growth under the ownership of CMA CGM, highlighted by the fact that when purchased in 1998, ANL carried 72,000TEU per annum, and in 2019, this number had expanded to over 1.15M TEU per annum. This has given us an average annual growth rate of 10.5% per annum against a global average of 5.9%.

We are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and whilst our core business is liner shipping to/from and around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, the organisation has broadened its solutions to now include break-bulk, intermodal and value-added services.

Currently, we operate 19 services with 420 ports of call with 33 vessels in operation. Whilst the ANL operation is focussed on the Oceania areas, through CMA CGM we offer worldwide solutions to any port in the world. We have 4 major offices with over 320 employees worldwide.


Australia and its size defies belief for many, even in shipping.  What are your main ports of call in Australia generally, and please also enlighten our readers about your most recent development, i.e., a brand new, regular call into Port Hedland, right?  To further give our readers a sense of size, could you elaborate on the time it would take to circumnavigate Australia, say using an ANL ship at 17 knots?

ANL calls in all major ports in Australia, namely Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth). We have expanded in the last few years to also include secondary ports including Darwin, Townsville, Esperance and our most recent, new calling of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

The Pilbara region is a very exciting opportunity for us as we launch the first containerised service into this port, which is the powerhouse region of Australia, powered by some of the largest mining, gas and mineral resource deposits anywhere in the world. The service will also cater for breakbulk and OOG cargoes. Traditionally, containerised cargo has been shipped via Fremantle some 1650 kilometres (1021 miles) to the south and road transported to the Pilbara region. We will be offering a regular feeder service from Singapore to the Pilbara, allowing access from all parts of the world through the CMA CGM Group’s global network. The mutual benefits that will be derived from the service include CO2 reductions, less road traffic, shorter supply chains and reduced handling which will lead to less risk of cargo damage.

Australia is a large country which is heavily populated on its East Coast. The huge coastline covers 25,780 kilometres (16,020 miles) and is the sixth largest in the world. If an ANL vessel sailed from Melbourne and circumnavigated the Australian mainland at 17 knots, it would take nearly 40 days to complete the journey. Ironically, when ANL first commenced operations in 1956, it was purely a coastal operator with a fleet of both cargo and bulk vessels, and as such nearly every port in Australia has seen an ANL vessel visit at least once in that time.

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What prompted ANL’s decision to make regular calls into Port Hedland?

After our successful introduction of service port calls to Darwin, Townsville and Esperance, we considered the large transport task that was the Pilbara area. We had been approached by some of our customers who were interested in gaining a new connection from Asia which would provide shorter supply chains, reduced road haulage and the opportunity to source products more cost effectively internationally via Singapore, and also from the East Coast of Australia. After studying these requirements, we ascertained that by introducing a feeder service from Singapore, our worldwide network could cater for the vast majority of these requirements. After full consultation with state and local governments and the Pilbara Port Authority, a new service was born. Our first sailing took place on the 2nd of November 2020 from Singapore and was well supported and above initial expectations. 

As the business grows, we will offer improved frequency and access to other ports in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. We believe it is a game changer for the region with containerised cargoes now having access to this Port following the investment by the State Government to upgrade inspection and treatment processes and facilities to meet all Federal biosecurity requirements under this legislation.  We think that the service signals the beginning of a new wave of economic activity in the Pilbara region.

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On the issue of special equipment and breakbulk cargo, is that something that ANL gets involved with for the Australian trade? Even in cases of intra-Australia business,say the moving of mining equipment, etc., is that something which could be done using ANL tonnage as well?  Could you provide us with some examples, pictures of projects that you have handled within the OOG scope of ANL?

While ANL has always been carrying Project Cargo (OOG & Breakbulk), it is only within the last two years that we decided to develop this segment and launched a dedicated Project Cargo Desk. This project cargo desk does not only quote breakbulk opportunities but will also provide our customers with quotations when it comes to OOG cargo going along with the breakbulk one. We work very closely with our counterparts in the CMA CGM Project Cargo and Breakbulk divisions which allows us to give a seamless service from ports around the world, utilising our major transhipment hubs in Asia. 

Our liftings of breakbulk since the launching of this desk has seen a significant increase, and we want to inform the market that carrying breakbulk cargoes on container services on a fixed schedule with fixed frequencies and improved transit times is now a reality. Our team of professionals on the desk are ready to assist.

Upon receiving your rate request, our Breakbulk Desk will quickly assess your cargo and study the feasibility of your intended stuffing plan. While studying the same, they will quickly identify whether your cargo needs to be shipped as OOG or breakbulk and provide the best service option available.

In our current capacity, we can pretty much load all nature of project cargoes across all our services.

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Tell us more about the ANL-owned tonnage which you have got in your service.

Our service is made up of 33 vessels which are both owned and chartered. The size of the vessels range from 9500 teu container vessels to 600 teu MCP type vessels for the smaller services. Depending on the trade serviced, the vessels are suited up to the market that they are operating in, with vessels in trades which are involved in a lot of breakbulk cargoes engaged to ensure that we can cover the requirements of our customers.

Is Tasmania a place that ANL can cover as well?  I take it that some of the Pacific Islands, PNG and New Zealand are also places that are well-known to ANL, but how about for special and OOG cargoes?

Again, we are pretty much selling our Project Cargo capabilities everywhere we can, which means on most of our current services, only limited at times by the terminal lifting capabilities of our contractors.  Hence, we can definitely offer our services into TASMANIA (via Melbourne) through our dedicated service offers of our feeder operator who provides daily RORO services to the island ex Melbourne. 

In regard to the Pacific Islands, three years ago, ANL acquired Sofrana Unilines who operated dedicated Pacific Island services from Australia and New Zealand. The vessels we continue to operate on these services today are all fully self-geared and fully equipped to handle breakbulk cargoes of any size, big or small. 

As well we operate services across PNG offering the same flexibilities. 

Recently we also acquired the Toll service from Singapore to Darwin and East Timor, and these vessels also continue to be fully versant in the carriage of breakbulk cargoes.

Outside our regular weekly / fortnightly services & regular port calls, in the past, we have also organised ad hoc calls to carry breakbulk loads. This is something we always look at as options if our services are not suitable, and we have the capacity to do this whenever required.

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Where should our readers contact ANL when they want a quote for h/l and OOG?  Say our readers are located in China, Singapore, Thailand, Auckland, and Europe, for example?

Well to make it simple, we created a dedicated email address for customers to use for all of their enquiries they may have in regard to our services. The enquiries are handled directly by our Project Cargo Desk, and then local follow up is provided by our specialised agent representatives in the customer’s area. This allows a “one entry” contact into our organisation, and that follow up is performed quickly and in line with our Customer Service requirements.

Should any one reading have anything you would like us to study, please contact us at mbe.projectcargo@anl.com.au.