ISRAELI flag carrier Zim Integrated Shipping Services is planning its first newbuilding orders since the financial crash, having signed letters of intent with a dozen Asian yards, reports Oslo-based Tradewinds.
Zim has not ordered newbuildings for nearly a decade, having entered the financial crisis with more than 40 containerships on order, most of which were cancelled.
But the company is in talks with yards, owners and banks, with the intention of ordering between seven and 10 ships of over 13,000 TEU, said Zim president and CEO Rafi Danieli.
The vessels, earmarked for the transpacific - whence 40 per cent of Zim revenue comes - are also needed to exploit the expanded Panama Canal that opens next year, Mr Danieli said.
Zim operates on the transpacific in co-ordination with the G6 Alliance, and any commitment to taking vessels of this size is subject to operating the ships together with its partners.
Last year, eight of Zim’s largest vessels of between 8,000 TEU and 10,000 TEU were taken back by the banks and are managed by Germany’s Hammonia Reederei and NSC Schiffahrts.
Zim posted a net loss of US$127 million for 2014, narrowing it from $343 million the previous year, despite falling revenue. Its fourth quarter loss was $4 million reduced from $20 million.
Zim’s financial performance is believed to have benefited from record high freight rates to the US east coast as a result of port congestion on west coast, said Tradewinds.