Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zim changes underway

As announced earlier in the month Zim Container Service will be reducing port calls in Halifax from 104 to 52 per year, by eliminating direct Transatlantic calls. Zim ships calling in Halifax will be from the Transpacific service only. Atlantic traffic will come via Zim's hubs in Kingston, Jamaica or New York-presumably by being transshipped to the Transpacific ships before they reach Halifax.

Leading up to this changeover, which is scheduled with the August 10 arrival of Zim Beijing, there is a apparently some juggling going on - today's arrival being an example.

Zim Texas, a new ship built in 2011 called in New York in March on its maiden voyage. Built by Jiangsuyang Zijiang Shipyard in China, it is a 40,542 gross ton ship with a container capacity of 4,256TEU. This is noticeably smaller than the (nominal) 5,000 TEU ships Zim states will be calling here on the Transpacific service.

Presumably Zim Texas is one of the Transatlantic ships, that will not be calling here after August 10.

The jury is still out on how much traffic Halifax will lose as a result of this cut. Halterm is putting a positive spin on it by stating that this will free up one berth a week to market to other lines.

The Port of Halifax is also trying to be positive. A reported 10% increase in tonnage over last year was cited in today's press as a positive sign for the port.

However it does seem unfortunate that as Halterm has announced the purchase of new cranes and work continues on its pier extension, that a major (and I believe longest continuous) customer decides to cut back at this time.

Zim returned to profitability in 2010 after massive losses in 2009, partially through re-organization and streamlining, so perhaps this latest move will eventually payoff for Halifax as well as for Zim.


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