Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Maryland Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson and Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld announced the expansion of Israel’s ZIM Shipping lines new service to the Port of Baltimore. “This is great news for the Port of Baltimore,” said Maryland Port Administration and Port of Baltimore Executive Director William P. Doyle. “ZIM has excelled in utilizing our existing rail network to bring cargo into the Midwest. With our ultra-large, Neo-Panamax cranes and our incredible network of regional distribution, fulfillment, and sorting centers, the future has never been brighter for the container business in Baltimore.” Rick Powers, Director, Business Development, Maryland Port Administration, traveled on Governor Martin O’Malley MIDC Trade Mission in 2014 to Israel and met Zim Shipping line.
ZIM will increase the size of its ships coming into the port by nearly 50 percent—first utilizing 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit container vessels, and eventually 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit container ships.
The Baltimore Express is operated exclusively by ZIM and offers customers the fastest transit time from Asia to Baltimore. The service began last spring between China, Southeast Asia and the U.S. East Coast. ZIM operates a fleet of close to 100 vessels with significant international container market share. The firm’s global footprint includes Transpacific, Cross Atlantic, Cross Suez, Intra-Asia, and Latin America trade lanes.
The upgraded around-the-world weekly service will use the Panama and Suez canals, with a route traveling from Jakarta, Indonesia; Laem Chabang, Thailand; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Yantian, China; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; the Panama Canal; and Kingston, Jamaica before coming to Baltimore. From Maryland, the line follows to Norfolk, New York, Boston, the Suez Canal and Kaohsiung. The call at Kingston will enhance access to goods from Africa.
The Port of Baltimore currently generates about 15,300 direct jobs, with nearly 140,000 jobs overall linked to port activities. It ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, roll-on/roll-off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported gypsum. It ranks ninth for total foreign cargo value and eleventh among major U.S. ports for foreign cargo handled. Baltimore is the first U.S. port of call for this expanded service.
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 nearly 100 “ad hoc” ship calls—including extra loaders from ZIM—during recovery from the pandemic. Ad hoc ships are vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call.
The Port of Baltimore’s rising container business will be further buoyed by expansion of the CSX-owned Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, which is underway and scheduled to be completed in 2025. The expanded tunnel will accommodate double-stacked container rail cars traveling to and from the port, clearing a longtime hurdle and providing the East Coast with seamless double-stack capacity from Maine to Florida, as well as the ability to send double-stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and on to Chicago. The project involves clearance improvements in the 127-year-old tunnel and at 21 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The Howard Street Tunnel project benefits from public-private investment, including from the federal government, Maryland, CSX. The project is expected to increase the port’s business by about 160,000 containers annually. It also will generate about 6,550 construction jobs and an additional 7,300 jobs from the increased business.
Baltimore Sun February 10, 2023 article below:
Port of Baltimore to get increased business from shipping line that supports e-commerce
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, February 9, 2023.
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.
Story by Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun • Friday, February 10, 2023