Monday, March 28, 2011

Fuel Efficient Container Vessels Will Change West African Logistics Picture

First of 22 New Build Ships Named By Maersk
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – KOREA – WEST AFRICA - Named this week after the capital of Guinea, the Maersk Conakry is the first of a series of twenty two container ships ordered by A.P. Moller-Maersk from Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea. The West Africa MAX, (WAFMAX) vessels will be the largest container ships able to call West Africa and are also the most fuel-efficient, using 30 percent less fuel per container moved than the industry average on the Asia-Africa trade.

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.

The name-giving ceremony, which took place today at the Hyundai shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, was attended by representatives of Hyundai Heavy Industries and A.P. Moller - Maersk. The vessels are to be delivered this year and in 2012. Hanne Sorensen, CCO of Maersk Line, who hosted the naming ceremony, commented:

"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. The WAFMAX vessels with their greater capacity and energy efficiency support that ambition and extend our commitment to these important growth markets."

Photo: Ships crane loading boxes at Conakry Port.