Posted on February 13, 2023
In a boost for the Port of Baltimore, ocean carrier ZIM Shipping Line plans to expand to weekly service, bringing larger ships with cargo headed for customers throughout the U.S., Gov. Wes Moore announced Thursday.
ZIM, one of the port’s major container shipping customers, will double the frequency of its E-commerce Baltimore Express from bi-weekly to weekly service at the end of February, the governor’s office said in a news release. ZIM plans to expand the size of its vessels by nearly 50 percent to carry more cargo.
ZIM’s Baltimore Express, which started in the spring between China, Southeast Asia and the East Coast, offers customers the fastest transit time from Asia to Baltimore. The ships will use the Panama and Suez canals.
“When one of the leading container shipping companies in the world increases its business here, it’s a reflection of the maritime industry’s strong confidence in both Maryland’s Port and Maryland’s workers,” Moore said in a statement.
Baltimore is a prime gateway for goods heading to the e-commerce market and for cargo sent to the Midwest via rail.
The port benefits from its location within an overnight drive to more than a third of the U.S. population, which has spurred growth in e-commerce businesses such as distribution centers around the state, said Kevin A. Anderson, the state’s acting commerce secretary, in the announcement.
The port generates about 15,300 direct jobs and 140,000 jobs overall linked to port activities. Expanded business from ZIM will mean additional work hours for the longshore labor force, said Scott Cowan, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 133.
ZIM, an Israeli shipping company, operates a fleet of nearly 100 vessels and is among the largest container shipping lines in the world.