The Israeli ocean carrier is readying itself for survival as an alliance outsider when the three new east-west groupings are in place, but with a “flexible partnership approach”, said chief executive Rafi Danieli.
Zim, the world’s 16th largest container line, with a total cellular capacity of 306,000 teu, said that from April it will operate as an independent carrier with a new service between Asia and the US west coast.
It will consolidate its current two strings, NP1 and NP3, offered through a co-operation with the G6, with its slot charter agreement on Cosco’s CEN loop, into the as-yet unnamed new service.
In addition, Zim will “upgrade” its all-water ZCP loop between Asia and the US east coast, via the Panama Canal, it will offer “inland destination solutions to major locations through main (USEC) ports” and the Z7S (Seven Stars, Asia, Indian subcontinent-US east coast service via the Suez Canal) “will resume full activity”, after its winter suspension.
Elsewhere, Zim said, its AME Asia to East Med and EMX Asia East Med and Black Sea services “will be restructured”, although it did not say when or how this would be achieved.
Mr Danieli said: “Zim is offering a fresh approach with many advantages to our customers. As an independent and agile carrier, we have created a smart and efficient network offering stable and reliable services.
“Zim is an important player in the trades it operates in; we maintain a flexible partnership approach with major carriers, and our new structure is a viable and beneficial alternative to the market.”
Two weeks ago, Zim struck a deal with THE Alliance that will see the vessel-sharing group buying slots on its flagship ZCA service from April, while the Israeli carrier will co-load on THE Alliance’s AL6 service.
However, it appears that further co-operation with the THE, Ocean and 2M alliances has so far eluded Zim, and rumours continue about its long-term future as a global player.
They follow media reports in the autumn that Zim was “on the market” and that its bankers were “travelling around the world with a sale prospectus” that would see the carrier concentrate on providing a strategic relay service from Israeli ports to Mediterranean transhipment hubs.
This however was strongly denied by Zim. The carrier said it had “no intention whatsoever to stop” after “providing its clients with a global liner service for several decades”.