Maersk Line and CMA CGM are to revise the rotation of the joint Far East – West Africa service, branded ‘AFEX’ by the French and ‘FEW3’ by the Danish.
The present Namibia call at Walvis Bay, so far the last African port on the loop, will be dropped after a last visit on 7 September. At the same time, the eastbound call at Capetown, initially dropped from the service in May, will be re-instated from 4 October.
Maersk and CMA CGM thus swapped the Namibia and South Africa calls between two services: The two carriers’ joint ‘FEW5’/’WAX2’ has recently dropped Capetown and added a call at Walvis Bay.
Most likely, the changes were imperative, since the two carriers recently started to phase gearless ‘baby’ overpanamax ships into the ‘AFEX’ / ‘FEW3’: Maersk has phased in the 5,017 teu SEASMILE from Thenamaris, whereas the French Line will soon bring the 4,620 teu sisters RHL CONCORDIA and RHL CALLIDITAS of Reederei Hambuger Lloyd onto this loop. These ships would be awkward to handle at Walvis Bay, where port infrastructure is limited.
The ‘FEW5’ / ‘WAX2’, which takes over the Namibia call, also deploys gearless ships, but these are much smaller at 2,700 to 2,900 teu.