ZIM (shipping company)
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (Hebrew: צים), commonly known as ZIM, is a publicly held Israeli international cargo shipping company, and one of the top 20 global carriers. The company's headquarters are in Haifa, Israel; it also has a North American headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. Originating in 1945, ZIM has traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 2021. From 1948 to 2004, it traded as ZIM Israel Navigation Company.
|Founded||Haifa, Mandatory Palestine|
June 7, 1945
|Eli Glickman (CEO)|
Aharon Fogel (Chairman)
|Services||Container shipping, Refrigerated Cargo, |
|Revenue||US$ 3.717 billion (2010)|
|US$ 54 million (2010)|
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). 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. After the State of Israel was established in 1948, the company was renamed ZIM Israel Navigation Company Ltd. During its first years, its main task was transporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the emerging state. 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.
During Israel's War of Independence, 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, Another ship purchased with reparations money was the SS Etzel. 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.
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. A similar joint venture - Burma Five Star Line - was made with the Burmese Government in 1959.
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.
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.
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, but unloaded the ship after their safety was assured. Other protests in Los Angeles  and Tacoma, Washington 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. 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.
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. 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 and the State Comptroller of Israel 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.
In January 2021, ZIM debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, with the backing of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays. ZIM had been considering an initial public offering (IPO) for years, but repeatedly postponed for various reasons.
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. In 2009, ZIM required a cash injection of $450 million by the Ofer family and debt restructuring following the world's container shipping downturn.
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.
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.
- 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), Hamburg (Germany), Hong Kong
- Agents: ZIM has more than 170 offices and representatives in over 100 countries throughout the world
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