A spokesperson from Israel’s biggest shipping company, ZIM Integrated services Ltd, denied the story published by The Wall Street Journal that said the company was going to sell its global carrier network in order to become a regional Mediterranean carrier.
According to the WSJ article, ZIM wants to sell their ships and customer base on Asia- U.S routes, from Asia to the East Mediterranean and from the Mediterranean to the U.S.
After the article was published, Israel’s company issued a statement denying the selling intentions: “Zim is rejecting the rumor that it has intentions to sell its global shipping operations. We have been a global player for the past few decades and we have no intentions whatsoever to stop [providing] world-wide services to clients,” the report said.
Marine data provider VesselsValue values Zim’s entire fleet at around $267 million. The company is 32% owned by Kenon Holdings Ltd., a company based in Singapore. The rest of the owners are banks and shipowners according to WSJ.
Due to the industry slump, many shipping companies are looking for the best strategy to survive. As a result, a wave of consolidations is rising. This year has seen three important mergers and acquisitions deals: CMA CGM acquires NOL as its liner units APL, COSCO merger with China Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd merger with UASC.
Last week another alliance was announced between three major Japanese carriers: NYK Line, “K” Line and MOL announced their container shipping businesses merger.
However, an expert told WSJ that ZIM is not able to join any alliances as its ships are barred from entering ports of Arab countries that don’t recognize Israel: “That leaves them in a precarious situation,” he said. “They can either grow in scale to compete with the big boys—something they can’t afford or become smaller and focus on a niche. Being a Mediterranean player also serves the strategic interests of the state of Israel,” said Lars Jensen, chief executive of SeaIntelligence consulting in Copenhagen.