UASC, Hanjin and Evergreen are to expand their portfolio of WAF services with a second link between the Gibraltar Straits and West Africa.
As anticipated, the three shipping lines are set to open an additional Algeciras to West Africa service, to be branded ‘WAF2’, with each of the partners to deploy one vessel.
The new service will add to the existing ‘WAF’ loop of the same carrier trio. While both services call at Algeciras, where they connect to mainline ships, and at Lagos, the established ‘WAF’ then focuses on Ghana (Tema) and the Ivory Coast (Abidjan), while the new ‘WAF2’ will focus on Benin (Cotonou) and Togo (Lome).
The ‘WAF2’ will start on 19 July with a first sailing of the 2,442 teu EMS TRADER, recently chartered by Hanjin. UASC has chartered the 1,740 teu HANSA LIMBURG, and Evergreen has yet to nominate its tonnage.
The service will turn in four weeks and offer fixed day sailings with one blank sailing every four weeks and has the following rotation: Algeciras, Lagos (Tincan), Cotonou, Lome, Algeciras.
With a fleet in the 1,700+ teu size range, the new ‘WAF2’ will deploy much smaller vessels than the ‘WAF’ which is maintained with four ships in the 3,400 to 3,600 teu range.
Of note, the ‘WAF’ and ‘WAF2’ are direct competitors to MOL’s ‘ARS’ which calls at the same West African ports of Lagos (Tincan), Cotonou, Lome and Abidjan. MOL however chose to serve all ports with only one loop and the carrier consolidated the West Africa services ‘AR3’ and ‘ARS’ into an upgraded ‘ARS’ at the beginning of May.