Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is said to be redesigning its sailings from Asia to the US after testing out moves to circumvent congestion. Ongoing congestion on the US West Coast (USWC) has led Zim to study the prospect of starting permanent new services via the Suez Canal from Asia to the US East Coast (USEC).
The move follows problems with operating to clogged USWC ports, which meant some of Zim’s transpacific services had to be channelled via the Pacific Northwest ports of Vancouver, Tacoma and Seattle. In order to counteract the impact of congestion, Zim initiated ad-hoc services via Suez to the USEC using three vessels in the TEU8,500- to TEU10,000 range.
That success in February and March has led Zim to investigate the possibility of a permanent fixed service, given the needs of customers in the light of the US congestion, he says.
“One of the things we are looking forward to now is operating such a line on a regular basis,” Yochai added. The move reflects the importance of the US market to Zim. It accounts for between one-third and 40% of its business. Zim is understood to be negotiating for up to 13 vessels of 14,000 teu — a size that suits its transpacific trades perfectly but is still small enough to serve the USEC via Panama Canal.