Zim American Integrated Shipping, a subsidiary of Zim Integrated Shipping Services, is launching a direct container service between Mexico and Tampa, the Tampa Port Authority said Wednesday.
The new weekly Mexico Tampa Express Service (MTX) will use two ships chartered by Zim with capacities of 550 and 700 20-foot equivalent units of containers.
The MTX service will start on Jan. 29 on the following rotation: Kingston, Veracruz, Altamira, Tampa and back to Kingston.
"Having a direct, reliable service in this trade operated by a major global container carrier is huge," said Tampa Port Director Richard Wainio. "There is a significant volume of business moving between Mexico and Florida, as well as beyond to markets in the Southeastern U.S. The inclusion of a direct Tampa-Kingston leg will also greatly assist exporters who will see much faster transit times to connect to Zim's global network, including markets in Asia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean."
The announcement follows the expansion in November of Zim's South America Express service which added new direct connections to Tampa from Brazil and Venezuela.
The new MTX service comes just as the port completed the latest phase of its container terminal expansion in January by extending the container gantry crane rails and lengthening the berth from 2100 to 2800 feet. Last March TPA expanded the terminal's paved storage area from 25 to 40 acres and installed an additional 52 outlets for refrigerated containers.
The terminal is currently served by three rail-mounted container gantry cranes and a 100 ton mobile harbor crane, with 43-foot water depth. Together with terminal operator Ports America, TPA has plans to quadruple the size of the terminal to over 160 acres over the next several years. This planned build-out will be on adjacent land owned by TPA and ready to be developed as business continues to grow. A primary driver is to position the Port for increased trade with Latin America, as well as Asia, resulting from the expansion of the Panama Canal currently underway.
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