ZIM (shipping company)

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Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.
FoundedHaifa, Mandatory Palestine
June 7, 1945; 77 years ago (June 7, 1945)
Area served
Key people
Eli Glickman (CEO)
Aharon Fogel (Chairman)
ServicesContainer shipping, Refrigerated Cargo,
RevenueIncrease US$ 3.717 billion (2010)
Increase US$ 54 million (2010)
ParentKenon Holdings
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
Zim UK Ltd.
FoundedMay 1, 1998; 24 years ago (May 1, 1998)
ParentZim Integrated Shipping Services
SS Kedma, ZIM's first ship in 1947
SS Kedma 1947
SS Shalom, a ZIM ocean liner in the 1960s
Mezada Victims

Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., commonly known as ZIM (Hebrew: צים, tsim; portmanteau of צי ים, tsi yam, lit. "maritime fleet"), is a publicly held Israeli international cargo shipping company, and one of the top 20 global carriers.[1] The company's headquarters are in Haifa, Israel; it also has a North American headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.[2] Originating in 1945, ZIM has traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 2021.[3][4][5] From 1948 to 2004, it traded as ZIM Israel Navigation Company.


ZIM was founded on June 7, 1945, as the ZIM Palestine Navigation Company Ltd, by the Jewish Agency, the Israel Maritime League and the Histadrut (General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel).[3] The first ship was purchased in partnership with Harris and Dixon (based in London) in 1947. This vessel was refurbished, renamed SS Kedma, and sailed to the future state of Israel in the summer of 1947.[6] After the State of Israel was established in 1948, the company was renamed ZIM Israel Navigation Company Ltd.[7] During its first years, its main task was transporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the emerging state.[6] Some of the other ships that had been used for clandestine immigration before the establishment of Israel as a state were confiscated by the British Mandate authorities and later joined the company's fleet. The company continued to purchase more ships, among them SS Negba, SS Artza and SS Galila.[8]

During 1947–1949 Palestine war, the company was the sole maritime connection with the State of Israel, supplying food, freight and military equipment.

In 1953, some of the money from the reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany was allocated to the purchase of new ships. The SS Bergensfjord, renamed Jerusalem, sailed the Israel-New York route,[9] Another ship purchased with reparations money was the SS Etzel.[10] The SS Dolphin IV, acquired in 1956, was renamed SS Zion.

In 1950s and 1960s, ZIM concentrated on passenger ships, alongside a constant expansion of the cargo shipping business. Passenger liners were a common means of international transport before the emergence of cheap air transport, and pleasure cruises were also popular. ZIM sailed the Mediterranean Sea, as well as having regular routes to the United States. Some of its ships cruised to the Caribbean during the winter. 1964 saw the completion of the ocean liner SS Shalom, which turned out to be a failure, marking the end of the ZIM passenger shipping era.[11]

ZIM was invited in 1957 by the Government of Ghana to assist the setting up and management of a national shipping line. Black Star Line was formed with a 40% participation by ZIM and principally operated cargo services from West Africa.[8] A similar joint venture - Burma Five Star Line - was made with the Burmese Government in 1959.[8]

During the 1960s, ZIM started to turn its focus to cargo ships, and obtained several special-purpose vessels, including refrigerated ships and oil tankers. ZIM transported crude oil from Iran to Israel and oil byproducts from Israel to Europe.[citation needed]

In the 1970s, ZIM expanded into the container shipping business. ZIM ordered six such ships, and gradually made this its main line of business.

In 1981, one of the company's ships, Mezada, was lost at sea. Despite a lull in maritime shipping at the beginning of the 1980s, the company built 15 more ships in Germany in the 1990s. At this time, the ownership of ZIM was divided between the Israeli government and Israel Corporation.[12]

In 2008, ZIM planned to launch an initial public offering and selling 25% of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but due to the onset of the global economic crisis it was called off.[13] In 2009, ZIM required a cash injection of $450 million by the Ofer family and debt restructuring following the world's container shipping downturn.[14]

In 2010, ZIM regained profitability and in early 2011 ZIM renewed its plans for a flotation on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but again had to postpone it due to the economic downturn and the drop in container shipping rates.[15]

In 2014, unloading of a ZIM ship at the Port of Oakland was delayed by anti-Israel protesters. Longshoremen declined to load the ship out of safety concerns, taking no position on the underlying dispute,[16] but unloaded the ship after their safety was assured.[17] Other protests in Los Angeles[18][19][20][21] and Tacoma, Washington[22] failed to stop the unloading of cargo from ZIM ships. A second demonstration bypassed Oakland for Los Angeles when longshoremen, not participating in the protest, refused to unload the ship after being physically threatened and their vehicles blocked when they tried to report for work.[23] Protesters' claim they impacted ZIM's shipping schedule was denied by the company, and the local Jewish Community Council denounced the "hateful" rhetoric of the demonstrators.[24]

In July 2014, by which time the company was almost wholly owned by Israel Corporation, ZIM was restructured with 68% of the group's shares owned by its creditors and bondholders, and 32% retained by Israel Corporation, and starting early 2015 by Kenon Holdings, a spin-off company of Israel Corporation.[25]

In mid-to-late 2015, plans to revive an initial public offering were implemented. ZIM debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in January 2021, with the backing of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays.[4]

In March 2021, Zim reported the biggest profit in its 75-year history.[26]


In 2004, the Israel Corporation (which is controlled by the Ofer Brothers Group) purchased 49% of ZIM's shares held by the Israeli government, becoming the sole owner of the company.[12] The new official name after privatization became ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. The purchase deal for about five hundred million New Israeli Shekels was severely criticized by the press[27] and the State Comptroller of Israel[28] as being undervalued and becoming just another flag of convenience company. In 2007, ZIM sold its maritime logistics and forwarding services subsidiary NewLog to UTi Worldwide.[29]

ZIM Barcelona off California, 2008

Operational statistics[edit]

  • Annual turnover 2018: $3.2 billion
  • TEU's Carried in 2018: 2,914,000 million
  • Total TEU Capacity (owned and chartered vessels): 344,460 TEU's
  • Containers: over 547,000 TEUs of various types
  • About 70 vessels, 13 fully or partly owned
  • Ports of Call: 180 throughout the world, with 10 strategically located hubs
  • Services: Over 70 lines and services, mostly on a weekly, fixed-day basis, covering all major trade routes with regional connections
  • Employees: ~4200
  • Regional Headquarters: Haifa (Israel), Norfolk, Virginia (USA), Liverpool (United Kingdom), Hamburg (Germany), Hong Kong
  • Agents: ZIM has more than 170 offices and representatives in over 100 countries throughout the world[30]


Container ship classes of ZIM
Ship class Built Capacity (TEU) Ships in class Notes
2023–onwards 5,300 8 Long-term charter from Navios Maritime Partners[31]
2023–onwards 5,500 6 To be built by HJ Shipbuilding & Construction. Long-term charter from MPC Capital AG[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PublicTop100". www.alphaliner.com.
  2. ^ "Company Watch: A Look at Zim Shipping". Virginia Israel Advisory Board. 13 February 2002. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Once upon a time - the story of ZIM". ZIM. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Zim Wall Street IPO falls short". Globes. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. ^ "NYSE". www.nyse.com. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b Cohen-Hattab, Kobi (Summer 2015). "The Test of Maritime Sovereignty: The Establishment of the Zim National Shipping Company and the Purchase of the Kedmah, 1945–1952" (PDF). Israel Studies. Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press. 20 (2): 114, 117. doi:10.2979/israelstudies.20.2.110. ISSN 1084-9513. S2CID 152327602. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  7. ^ Goossens, Reuben. "Zim Israel Navigation Company". ssMaritime. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Bar-Tikva, Chaim. "The fifty-years success story of a shipping company: 1945-1995". Friends of the National Maritime Museum. Haifa: Zim Israel Navigation Company Ltd. pp. 32–34. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Bergensfjord (1) (NAL: 1913-46)". Simplon Postcards - The Passenger Ship Website. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  10. ^ Children at Heart, Jerusalem Post Magazine Archived 23 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Micke Asklander. "T/S Shalom (1964)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2008.
  12. ^ a b "Israel Corp. to acquire state's Zim stake for $115m". Globes. 13 January 2004.
  13. ^ Wright, Robert (17 June 2008). "Israel Corp calls off Zim shipping flotation". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015.
  14. ^ Wright, Robert (24 November 2011). "Zim and MISC signal deepening container ship crisis". Financial Times.
  15. ^ Rochvarger, Michael (27 June 2011). "Ofers' Zim navigates around obstacles on way to Hong Kong Stock Exchange IPO". Haaretz.
  16. ^ "Volatile atmosphere at Gaza demonstration prevents Longshoremen from entering Port of Oakland terminal (ILWU Coast Longshore Division news release)". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  17. ^ Lee, Henry (21 August 2014). "Ship hit by protests unloads, leaves Oakland". sfgate.com. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Israeli ship remains at sea as thousands of protesters gather in Oakland". The Guardian. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Calif. protesters block Israel-owned ship at Port of Oakland". Washington Times. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Protesters: We prevented Zim ship from unloading cargo in LA". Haaretz. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Local Groups Picket Israeli Ship at Port of Long Beach". Long Beach Post. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  22. ^ "Protesters Fail to Block Zim Ship in Tacoma". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  23. ^ "Israeli cargo ship heads for L.A. to unload after Oakland protest". Reuters. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  24. ^ "No blockade, Zim ship bypasses Oakland". The Jewish News of Northern California. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Oakland workers on docks refuse to load shipo from Israel". San Francisco Star. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  26. ^ "'Revitalised' Zim reports biggest profit in its 75-year history". The Loadstar. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  27. ^ Secrets of shakshuka, Haaretz[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "דוח שנתי 55ב לשנת 2004 ולחשבונות שנת הכספים 2003 - הליך מכירתן של מניות צים שבידי המדינה [Annual Report for 2004 and fiscal year 2003 - Sale of ZIM shares held by the State]". mevaker.gov.il (in Hebrew). 2013. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  29. ^ Tal, Levy (7 October 2006). "Zim's Newlog unit in merger talks with UTi and Transclal". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014.
  30. ^ "Facts & Figures". www.zim.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  31. ^ "ZIM confirms US$870 million charter deal for 13 boxships". Container News. 10 February 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  32. ^ "ZIM announces new chartering transaction for six 5,500 TEU newbuildings". Container News. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.

External links[edit]