ZIM Alabama sailed at about 1730 hrs this afternoon, leaving pier 42. At pier 41 was ZIM Barcelona. With two sailings a week it is not hard to understand that ZIM Integrated Shipping Lines is an important, if not the biggest customer for Halterm and Halifax.
ZIM's* name has not been mentioned in the recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions, but even its time may be coming. As a relatively small company compared to the giants, it should be a target for some larger company, seeking to secure a bigger market share.
There may be problems with that scenario however. ZIM has again gone to its lenders to adjust or re-settle debts. Lenders took a 50% bath in 2014, the last time ZIM asked for a resettlement. Not only that, but they took a whopping 68% share in the company with a 3% yearly return as part of the deal.
It seems unlikely now that any potential purchaser would value the company as high as it was in 2014.
Those 68% owners includes banks, financial institutions and ship-owners with ships leased to ZIM. Any purchase of ZIM would likely see early termination of a number of those very charters.
ZIM Alabama is one of those leased ships. Built in 2010 by Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, it is a 40,542 grt, 50,158 dwt ship with 4256 TEU capacity. No longer considered efficient in comparison to mega ships, its operators, Rickmers Ship Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd probably hope to recoup their investment by seeing the ship out to the end of its charter.
Last year HAPAG-Lloyd attempted to buy Hamburg-Sud, but the deal fell through. H-L would now seem to be a logical potential purchaser for ZIM, with whom it obviously has a some slot charter arrangements, judging by the number of orange boxes on ZIM Alabama.
For now at least, ZIM sails on independently.
* I have been lazily spelling it Zim for years, but it is really ZIM. Also Hapag should be HAPAG.