Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. announced on Wednesday the relocation of its regional hub from the Port of Haifa to the port of Taranto, Italy. Zim's announcement was due to the ongoing labor disputes at Israel's ports.
The decision was received as a shock to the Haifa port authority due to the fact that last year the port became a member of the exclusive "over million teu" club. Mainly due to the fact that the port was used by Zim as its regional hub.
Under Zim's plans, the move to Taranto will be for one year, and will cut up to 9% of Haifa Port's container activity. The port of Haifa handled last year teu 1,013,794 of which teu170,000 were Zim's containers trans-shipped via Haifa to nearby destinations.
Zim which is regarded as one of top ten global carriers operates several regional hubs which are located in Hong Kong, Colombo Sri Lanka, Kingston Jamaica, Barcelona, and now Taranto.
Port of Haifa Managing Director Mr. Mendi Zaltzman confirmed Zim's departure to Taranto, but remained highly optimistic regarding the company's return at the end of the one year period.
In a statement to the press Mr. Zaltzman said "Its true that the labor disputes have driven Zim to leave, but I am sure that Zim will relocate back to Haifa when the labor disputes are over". Mr. Zaltzman, however, was reluctant to agree with Mr. Sebba about the expected loss of 9% in container traffic but agreed that the loss will be around 5%.