Following the closure of the ‘CAX’ China-Australia loop, a service jointly offered by TS Lines of Hong Kong and the Chinese carrier Hainan PO Shipping, TS will join the multicolored carrier group that operates the ‘CKA’ China-Korea-Australia service.
The weekly ‘CAX’ service was launched by TS Lines and Hainan PO in 2010 and it turned in 35 days with a fleet of five ships. Originally, the service was run with ships in the size range of 2,500 to 2,800 teu. After about one year, it was upgraded to a homogenous fleet of 3,500 teu ships. The loop’s port rotation remained unchanged from day one and called at Ningbo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shekou, Botany Bay (Sydney), Melbourne, Brisbane, Ningbo. Earlier this year, it was decided that the ‘CAX’ be closed and the last vessels phased out at the end of March.
Following the closure of the ‘CAX’, TS Lines joined a multi-carrier group on the ‘CKA’ China-Korea-Australia service. This loop is operated by Hanjin, STX Pan Ocean and Sinotrans as vessel providers and now also TS Lines. Additionally, Heung-A and Regional Container Lines take slots.
TS recently chartered the 5,026 teu E.R. DALLAS from German non-operating owners Blue Star / E.R. Schiffahrt as its contribution to the ‘CKA’. The maxi-panamax vessel is not only the largest ship on the service, which is otherwise operated with ships of 4,200 to 4,400 teu, but also by far the largest ship operated by TS Lines.
The E.R. DALLAS actually did not replace a ship on the ‘CKA’, but joined the service as an additional vessel. While the port rotation has remained unchanged, the ‘CKA’s round trip sailing time was extended by one week from 35 days to 42 days, introducing an additional element of slow steaming.
The service presently turns on the following rotation: Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Kaohsiung, Melbourne, Botany Bay (Sydney), Brisbane, Busan.
All carriers deploy panamax-beam vessels on the loop, whith the recent exception of Hanjin, which replaced its two 261m panamaxes HANJIN MILANO and HANJIN DUSSELDORF with modern baby-overpanamax ships of 249m x 38m, the HANJIN MAR and HANJIN MARINE.