Maersk names first WAFMAX vessel customised for West Africa
Maersk names first of its 22 WAFMAX container vessels
Vessels to be used for lines Asia-Africa trade service
Danish shipping giant Maersk, has announced the naming of the first of a series of 22 WAFMAX container vessels currently being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea.
Named after the capital of Guinea, Maersk Conakry and the 21 other West Africa MAX (“WAFMAX”) vessels on order from Hyundai will be the largest container ships able to call West Africa. They are also the most fuel-efficient, using 30 percent less fuel per container moved than the industry average on the Asia-Africa trade.
“Maersk Line has served Africa for more than 30 years. We will continue to develop our services and support our customers’ increasing business in the trades between Africa and Asia, Europe and the Americas," said Hanne Sorensen, CCO of Maersk Line, who hosted the name-giving ceremony today.
“The WAFMAX vessels with their greater capacity and energy efficiency support that ambition and extend our commitment to these important growth markets,” she adds.
Once a market served entirely by small ‘feeder’ vessels operating from hubs like Algeciras, Spain, the 4,500 TEU WAFMAX vessels are purpose-built to provide Maersk Line’s Asian customers with direct services to West African ports.
The ships will be 250 metres long with a draught of 13.5 metres, the maximum size allowable in West African ports. Some of the vessels will be equipped with onboard cranes (so-called ‘geared’ vessels) to enable calls at ports without standing cranes.
These vessels, when fully deployed, are aimed at cementing Maersk Line’s leading position in the African market. The growth of the African market, combined with physical infrastructure not developing at the same speed, has created a demand for ships with special designs that are able to match the maximum capacity of the ports.