The fascinating story of ZIM Integrated Shipping spans over half a century. Founded in 1945 by the Jewish Agency, Histadrut Labor Federation and the Israel Maritime League, ZIM began its first runs carrying immigrants from war-torn Europe to the land that would become the State of the Israel.
The name “ZIM” was proposed by Israel’s first Minister of Transportation, David Remez. The name is based on a passage in the Bible (Numbers 24:24), in which the Hebrew word “ZIM” refers to “large vessels.” The name reflects the goals of the company, even in its earliest days – to build a large merchant fleet. The Kedmah, ZIM’s first ship, was purchased in 1947 and delivered much needed supplies during Israel’s founding and the War of Independence.
In 1953, ZIM embarked on an era of global expansion that lasted 15 years, with the acquisition of 36 passenger, cargo, bulk-carrier and container ships, and the launch of a range of passenger and cargo services. In the late 1960’s ZIM discontinued its passenger services and focused entirely on international cargo shipping.
In the 1970’s ZIM became a pioneer in container shipping, adopting cutting-edge technology that would eventually become the standard in shipping. Today, ZIM has grown to become one of the world’s leading and largest shipping companies, operating globally. The company has 80 vessels, 180 ports of call and 10 strategically located hubs. ZIM operates over 70 lines and services and covers all major trade routes.
Here in the SE, ZIM was Conexx’s Israeli Company of the Year at last year’s Eagle Star Awards. The company recently made headlines when their ship, the Tianjin, was the largest container ship to ever pass through a US east coast port at the port of Savannah last spring.
ZIM prides itself on handling extraordinary shipping challenges including perishable goods and dangerous cargo. Like the company says: “Whether it is an elephant or ice cream, ZIM can carry it.”