CMA CGM & Maersk doubles-up on service for
growing Africa trade

CMA CGM and Maersk are set to deploy their surplus 13,000 TEU ships for their collaborative Far East-West Africa service, effectively replacing the existing 5,000-7,000 TEU vessels operated by the French carrier on the same route.

The upgraded FW1/WAX service, as reported by Linerlytica, is scheduled to begin on December 5th, beginning with the 13,302 TEU Maersk Edirne, featuring a 13-week turnaround period.

In a joint effort, Maersk and CMA CGM will contribute a total of 13 vessels, ranging from 13,300 to 13,800 TEU, resulting in a significant capacity doubling for the service. The expanded route includes calls at strategic ports, such as Qingdao, Gwangyang, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Nansha, Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Tema, Lekki, Abidjan, Pointe Noire, Colombo, Singapore, Xiamen, and Qingdao.

This move positions FW1/WAX as the second West Africa service utilizing vessels of this size, following MSC’s Africa Express, which operates ships ranging from 13,000 to 15,000 TEU. Notably, the upgraded service now features a new direct call at Abidjan, establishing direct links with major markets in Asia.


According to Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo, the capacity doubling of the FW1/WAX service is primarily driven by CMA CGM, with Maersk joining as a vessel operating partner. Both companies will deploy their excess 13,000 TEU ships on this route. However, many major carriers are grappling with the challenge of excess capacity, which is expected to exert downward pressure on freight rates across secondary routes, not only in Africa but also in Latin America, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

While CMA CGM and Maersk cascade vessels into mid-haul lanes, the container trade in Africa is experiencing growth amid regional development. Container Trade Statistics indicate that, so far this year, Asia-Africa trade has grown by approximately 20% year on year, despite the global decline in container traffic from the peak influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

CMA CGM and Maersk are also planning revisions for the FW2/WAX3, calling at Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Lome, Apapa, Onne, Cotonou, and Singapore. Starting from December 24th, the fleet for this service will consist of 10 ships ranging from 4,400 to 7,000 TEU, marking an increase from the previous fleet's capacity of around 4,500 TEU each.

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