February 8 - Following the recent sale of its South Africa - West Africa multipurpose service to Cape Town based Fairseas International and the withdrawal of the line from the West Africa - US Gulf trade in early January 2016, multipurpose operator Safmar

Readers will recall that the multipurpose line sold its owned fleet of five ships to Thorco Shipping in November last year but managing director, Jorg Knuttel says that it has chartered replacement tonnage and is offering "normal services ex-Europe".

Knuttel adds: "We're very happy that our local team is joining Fairseas as part of the transaction and will continue their work."

Fairseas managing director Liam McKenzie comments: "The acquisition is an exceptional opportunity to build on an already well established trade brand and customers are assured of the same integrity of service that SafmarineMPV has provided to the SA-West Africa market for many years."

Under its new owner, the service will operate as SAFWAF MPV, offering a six-week frequency calling Durban, Cape Town and Walvis Bay on the Southern African coast, with direct calls at Boma, Matadi, Pointe Noire, Sonils and inducement calls at various ports on route including Port Gentil.

When SafmarineMPV withdrew from the US Gulf-West Africa trade in January, it said that the outlook for its multipurpose service in that trade had been challenging and had been affected by very negative market conditions for quite some time. The financial results have been falling short of the company's expectations and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

In view of the circumstances, an exit from the multipurpose US Gulf to West Africa trade is now the best way forward for the Safmarine MPV brand.

The exit resulted in the closure of the SafmarineMPV's Houston office.