APL's tagline is apt: moving business forward. The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), provides container shipping services to customers around the world. APL's fleet consists of more than 140 vessels and serves ports worldwide. The company's partnerships enable it to offer intermodal transportation to move dry, climate-controlled, hazardous, and oversized cargo inland via combinations of ship, train, and truck. By trade volume, APL's two largest markets are the Asia-Middle East route and the trans-Pacific route. APL and sister company APL Logistics are the principal business units of NOL.
APL has major operations in China, Singapore, the UK, and the US. With more than 80 weekly services, the company serves more than 25,000 locations in 140 countries.
In addition to its 141 vessels, the company has a fleet of more than one million containers.
APL's liner shipping business generates a large majority of NOL's total revenues -- 85% in fiscal 2011.
Looking at long-term growth, APL is making moves to upgrade its fleet. Between 2011 and 2014 APL plans to introduce 32 new ships of 9,200-TEU and larger to its fleet.
The largest of the new ships will likely be deployed in APL's long-haul Asia-Europe trade. However, intra-Asia is recognized as its fastest-growing container market. Intra-Asia connects to ports and inland destinations in East Asia, West Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. It is projected that by 2015 intra-Asia will account for 32% of global containerized trade. APL is busy introducing new services, including short-sea routes, to that trade.
In order to better serve their customers in Central and Southern China, APL and Pacific International Lines (PIL) has launched a new joint service linking the Asian and Red Sea markets. The Red Sea (with its access to the Middle East and Southern Europe) is an important market for exporters in Central and Southern China. Eight post-Panamax ships of about 6,000 TEUs will be deployed in the joint service. APL will operate three vessels, and PIL will operate five vessels. The first vessel in the joint service was deployed in Shanghai in 2012.
Elsewhere, the company introduced a new service in 2011 to expand its presence in Latin America. The service links South America's West Coast directly to Central America and connects to North America's West Coast.
Besides expanding its fleet and geographic footprint in emerging markets, the company also invests in developing technology to give it a competitive edge with its customers.