In Magazine Article, News
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Read this article in the digital edition of Issue 1 2022.

The Maryland Port Administration (MPA), working closely with public-private partner Ports America Chesapeake (PAC), has attracted one of the top ocean-carrier container companies in the world: Israel-based ZIM Shipping Line.

The name of the new service is the ZIM e-Commerce Baltimore Express (ZXB), traveling from China and Southeast Asia to the U.S. East Coast. ZIM operates a fleet of close to 100 vessels and is a significant participant in international container shipping with a sizeable market share. ZIM’s global footprint includes trade lanes in the Transpacific, Cross Atlantic, Cross Suez, Intra-Asia and Latin America.

“ZIM’s commitment to the Port of Baltimore is another indication that the international maritime shipping industry recognizes Maryland’s role as a critical gateway to American markets,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “Maryland’s Port has been a reliable and efficient partner for business throughout the pandemic, and our significant investments at the Port are growing capacity, jobs and our economy.”

The new service will begin with bi-weekly frequency and build up to weekly within a few months. ZXB is operated exclusively by ZIM and offers its customers the fastest transit time from Asia to Baltimore, guaranteed space and equipment without rolling, late cutoff from Asia ports, a dedicated out-of-gate lane, and expedited rail/air/road connections to inland destinations.

“ZIM’s new e-commerce centric service is outstanding news for the Port of Baltimore and our International Longshoremen’s Association labor force,” said MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle. “ZIM is one of the top ocean carriers in the world, and we’re pleased to welcome them to Baltimore. With our additional ultra-large, Neo-Panamax cranes, our future double-stack rail capabilities and an incredible network of regional distribution, fulfillment and sorting centers, Baltimore is extremely well-positioned to continue growing our container business and serving as number one e-commerce port in the nation.”

There is a need for utilization of more gateways such as Baltimore to land cargo in the United States. Import/export demand for containerized cargo has substantially increased over the past year. With that demand, port congestion is at an all-time high. Baltimore is a prime gateway for goods heading to the e-commerce market and for cargo sent to the Midwest via rail. Maryland’s Port has handled more than 40 calls since July 2020 from “ad hoc” ships — vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call — which includes extra loaders from ZIM.

ZIM’s vessels will call at Seagirt Marine Terminal, which is operated by Ports America Chesapeake under a public-private partnership (P3) with MPA. “Maryland’s public-private partnership with Ports America Chesapeake is continuing to pay significant dividends,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. “Our collaboration with Ports America Chesapeake has helped Maryland’s Port of Baltimore become more efficient and productive, and the P3 model continues to help us invest in the infrastructure we’ll need to grow for the future.”

“Welcoming the new ZIM service to Seagirt Marine Terminal is an example of continued growth for the Port of Baltimore,” said Bayard Hogans, Vice President of Ports America Chesapeake. “Their ships will enhance direct service and increase capacity from Southeast Asia — increasing volumes, production, e-commerce and our global reach at the port.”

“ZIM has an ever-growing presence in the shipping world,” said Scott Cowan, President of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333. “I’m glad to see they’re dropping anchor in Baltimore.”