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Hong Kong Remains Key Port of Call for Global Cargo Carrier

Israeli shipping service provider ZIM bases two of its four regional business units in Hong Kong after restructuring

The world is increasingly fast-changing, and it is the same at sea as it is on land. Last year, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services went through organisational restructuring to enable its country offices around the world “to respond quickly to market needs”. It is also part of the company’s overall strategy to “focus on profitable trade areas in which ZIM enjoys competitive advantage”.

Hong Kong Remains Key Port of Call for Global Cargo Carrier

Area Managements have been cancelled and replaced with four major Business Units, namely Pacific Unit, Intra-Asia Unit, Latin America Unit and Cross Suez – Atlantic Unit. The first two business units are based in Hong Kong whereas the latter two are based in Kingston, Jamaica and Haifa, Israel respectively.

“ZIM’s Asia Pacific head office has been based in Hong Kong for more than 40 years. The offices in Hong Kong are responsible for a huge segment of ZIM’s global business, representing over 50 percent of ZIM’s overall business,” Nissim Yochai, VP Trans Pacific Trade, said.

ZIM serves more than 120 countries globally. It employs a staff of some 250 in Hong Kong.

“As a major global business hub Hong Kong naturally attracts the best professionals, and it also has exceptional home-grown talent. The talent pool in Hong Kong is one the very best in the world,” Yochai said.

The company has high expectations of the “Maritime Silk Road” laid out in the Chinese Government’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the recently established Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board.

“We naturally see Hong Kong as a ‘super-connector’ and our policy is to maintain and strengthen our activities in Hong Kong. We are certain that the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board will continue to facilitate shipping lines operations in an efficient and professional manner for the benefit of all parties,” Yochai said.

In recent years, many major shipping companies have formed alliances as a way to expand their product and service offerings without significantly increasing investment. But ZIM, Yochai explains, has chosen to stay independent.

“For us, we can make decisions on our own, and we can make decisions faster. We can change the schedules, and we can add ports ad hoc, if necessary. It’s freedom for us, freedom for our customers,” Yochai said.

“We have recently introduced a restructured efficient network, largely operated independently by ZIM, covering the Cross-Pacific, Asia-Med/Black Sea and Atlantic trades, enhancing our offer to the market. But not being part of an alliance does not preclude us from forming partnerships.”

ZIM works with other operators through swaps, vessel sharing agreements and slot trading. Yochai points out that most of the vessels in ZIM’s fleet are chartered, and that allows the company to be “asset light”.

“Over the last two years we have been consistently outperforming the industry’s average in terms of operational profit,” he said.

ZIM celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2015, and as part of the celebration, it has launched the Container Artist Residency 01 project, in which seven artists have been chosen out of more than a hundred bids to travel on the company’s commercial cargo ships and create artworks during their journeys. The pieces are to be displayed in a series of exhibitions held in three cities, starting from Hong Kong and followed by Tel Aviv and New York. On 6 March, some of the pieces will be auctioned off at PARA SITE art space in Quarry Bay, including one from Art Basel winner Samson Young. Proceeds will go to charity Room to Read.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Set up its Asia Pacific head office in Hong Kong some 40 years ago
  • Bases two of its four regional Business Units in Hong Kong after restructuring in 2016
  • Serves more than 120 countries, with the Hong Kong office responsible for over 50 percent of the company’s overall business

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