Maersk announces Southern Africa – Europe service change

In relation to the earlier announcement and given the current congestion in Cape Town Terminal, Maersk has endeavoured to make proactive adjustments to their Europe service. This is to ensure that they continue to provide a best in class coverage and reliability as required by their South African customers. As a result, they have announced that both SAECS and WAF1 services will change rotations to adjust to the new operational conditions.

The SAECS main string will stop calling Cape Town and will provide a weekly coverage for Durban and Port Elizabeth ports to Europe. In addition, the WAF1, currently dedicated to the Eastern Cape market, will become a dedicated Cape Town to Europe Shuttle. Additional feeders from CPT, for onward transit to Europe will be deployed based on customer demand.

Keeping in mind that the dynamics of the port situation in South Africa will likely continue to change constantly, Maersk has decided that for the remainder of the citrus season, they will continually re-evaluate their product on a weekly basis, to ensure it meets customer needs. It is believed that the current deployment, assets and capabilities will give Maersk the following operational agility to do so:

  • Two ocean services calling South Africa and Europe (WAF1 and SAECS) – allows Maersk to better isolate a particular port and better ensure schedule reliability
  • Comprehensive feedering capacity along the South Africa coast – Maersk has deployed additional geared feeder vessels which allow them more choices in terms of loading your cargo faster and also agility to call different terminals (berthing faster)
  • Comprehensive feedering capacity in Europe – If cargo does arrive late in Europe due to port delays, for most destinations, Maersk have multiple feedering options to ensure the cargo arrives at destination with minimized delays.

The new vessel service rotations will be

  • SAECS Rotation: Durban – Port Elizabeth (PECT) – Algeciras – Rotterdam – London Gateway – Bremerhaven – Rotterdam – Algeciras – Walvis Bay – Port Elizabeth (Coega) – Durban
  • WAF1 Rotation: Cape Town – Port Tangiers – Algeciras – Cape Town

The deployment changes will provide the following benefits

  • Without Cape Town on the SAECS rotation but still deploying the same number of vessels, Maersk expects they will have enough buffer to ensure timely arrival in Europe and reduce any omissions or serious delays in European ports, while at the same time considerably improving the transit time from Durban.
  • With a direct sailing from Cape Town to Algeciras, Maersk aims to provide a dedicated and reliable service to this market with a fast transit time into the Mediterranean. Cargo to North Europe and Russia will tranship in Algeciras with minimal impact to transit time.
  • Algeciras continues to be an integral part of the Maersk network and will not be omitted on either service to ensure the required connections.

The first sailings under this new set-up will be the following:

SAECS & WAF1 First Sailings

In addition, as we aim to minimize the impact to our customers’ supply chain and provide schedule integrity as far as possible, the following schedules will apply for the vessels prior to the MOL PROFICIENCY and LANA.

Prior vessels schedule

Source: Maersk