AMAX Round-the-World Route, 2005-2007
The first round-the-world routes were introduced in 1984 by the Taiwanese maritime
shipping company Evergreen. This route took about 69 days and was serviced
by about ten 4,000 TEUs ships in each direction (Westbound and Eastbound).
Each port was thus called twice a week. However, by early 2002 this
service was replaced by two pendulum services (North Europe, North and
Central America and East Asia; North Europe, Asia and the Pacific North
West) offering higher service frequencies.
In 2005, a new round-the-world
service was introduced by China Shipping Line (AMAX) that included a
rotation of ten 4,250 TEU containerships (the maximum size that can
go through the Panama Canal) completed in about 62 days. This
service was mainly designed to support Chinese exports to Europe and
the East Coast of North America and bring back empty containers on
the leg back across the Pacific through Los Angeles. In 2007, the
AMAX service was discontinued, underlining the challenges of
running profitable round-the-world container shipping services
in light of competing pendulum services.
The expansion of the Panama Canal will likely trigger the
reconsideration of these services.