Prince Rupert on Wednesday added Zim Integrated Shipping Services to its portfolio of carriers as the independent line further concentrates its presence in North America’s Pacific Northwest and expands its options for serving the interior of the US.
Zim, which has a streatgic agreement with Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. in the Pacific Northwest, will direct most of its US cargo to Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans via Canadian National Railway’s intermodal network from Prince Rupert, George Goldman, president of Zim USA, told JOC.com. Asian cargo destined for eastern Canada will be shipped mostly through Zim’s existing service calling Vancouver, he said.
One of the few global carriers not in a shipping alliance, Zim rounds out Prince Rupert’s services from the three major east-west vessel-sharing alliances — 2M, Ocean, and THE Alliance. “Prince Rupert’s four weekly services by the major alliances now includes all of those carriers plus independent carrier Zim,” said Brian Friesen, the port’s vice president of trade development and communications.
Unlike the three alliances, which have a major presence in Los Angeles-Long Beach on their trans-Pacific routes, Zim serves the US market only through the Pacific Northwest and via all-water services from Asia to the East Coast. Given its scale and scope as an independent line that does not have the assets of the larger alliance carriers, Zim feels it can best serve the eastern half of the US through the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast, Goldman said.
In fact, Zim has been working closely with ports, terminal operators, and railroads on the East Coast to provide competitive transit times to Chicago, Goldman said. Prince Rupert, located 500 miles north of Vancouver, offers the shortest transit time from North Asia to North America, and daily intermodal rail departures to Chicago. Zim’s first containers arrived Wednesday at Prince Rupert’s Fairview container terminal aboard the Maersk Altair. Zim does not deploy its own vessels to Prince Rupert, but it does operate the ships on its ZP9 service to Seattle and Vancouver.
Prince Rupert in 2017 added a second berth at the Fairview terminal, increasing its annual capacity to 1.35 million TEU. Terminal operator DP World this year will begin another expansion project that will increase annual capacity to 1.8 million TEU, Friesen said. Prince Rupert in December surpassed the 1 million-TEU annual throughput mark for the first time. Prince Rupert in 2018 handled 1.04 million laden and empty TEU, an increase of 12 percent over 2017, according to port statistics. “Our mission is to create capacity and resiliency to accommodate growth,” Friesen said.