Zim Integrated Shipping Services is the largest shipping company based in Israel and the tenth-largest shipping company in the world. Zim has a corporate policy of making safety a high priority, and yet shipping is inherently dangerous. Accidents can cause workers to be injured, and these workers have a right to seek compensation, thanks to maritime law.
Zim is one of the largest shipping companies in the world, with a turnover of nearly $3 billion in 2015 and over 2,000,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo carried around the world that year. The Zim fleet comprises 80 vessels with a total capacity of 344,000 TEU.
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The company makes calls at 180 ports worldwide and operates from ten international hubs. Weekly and fixed-day routes include over 70 service lines. Zim employs over 4,200 people and has 170 offices in over 100 countries, including a strong presence in China.
The Jewish Agency, Israel Maritime League, and Histadrut Labor Federation came together in 1945 to found Zim.
- The company’s first ship, purchased in 1947, was the Kedmah.
- Some of the ships in the early fleet were used to transport European immigrants to the newly-founded state of Israel. They also carried supplies to the fledgling country as it struggled with the War of Independence.
- From the early 1950s on, the company was able to focus on expanding as a shipping service.
- Zim acquired several new vessels for its feet, including passenger ships, container ships, and bulk carriers.
- By the late 1960s, the company had abandoned passenger service to focus solely on transporting goods, cargo, and containers.
- Zim took off in the 1970s as it grew its container service.
- In 1972, an innovative new service began that scheduled a 100-day voyage to hit three continents and ports in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
- In the 1990s, Zim expanded again with 15 ships.
- Over the years since its founding, Zim became increasingly privatized until, by 1999, the government of Israel no longer had any stake in the company.
Over the years, the company’s exact name has changed, but it has always begun with the word Zim, which comes from the Book of Numbers. The passage refers to a Zim as a large vessel.
Zim’s operations cover the globe with several regular routes traveled, hundreds of ports visited, and multiple international hubs and offices for logistics.
Main routes include those that go between Southeast Asia and Africa, between Israel and Northern Europe, between the Mediterranean and North and South America, and Africa, as well as trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.
The operations for Zim include services that ship all kinds of cargo. The company covers everything from typical container cargo to specialized cargo:
- Refrigerated cargo and containers
- Dangerous cargo
- Large, heavy cargo.
The company also offers logistic services connecting shipping port to port to getting cargo from door to door. Zim operations also include 24-hour monitoring of cargo.
Zim Safety Policies
Zim has safety policies on the books to emphasize the safety of workers, the environment, and cargo protection. Occupational safety, according to these policies, is Zim’s leading priority.
The company claims to adhere to the highest maritime operations and safety standards and ensures that its vessels comply with international safety regulations.
Regular safety training is mandatory for all employees. Accidents and injuries are monitored to have zero fatalities. That goal was met in 2015.
Accidents on Zim Ships
Despite strong safety policies, things can go wrong at any time in maritime work. Zim employees, like all other maritime companies, are at risk daily, especially those that work out at sea on the large vessels in the fleet. These workers are vulnerable to accidents like:
Collision on Mississippi River
One of Zims’ recent incidents was a collision on the Mississippi River in 2010. The Zim Mexico III navigated up the river while the ship navigated in the opposite direction.
The two vessels collided. An investigation found that the workers operating both ships failed to see there was a problem until seconds before the collision occurred.
Most of the blame was put on the operator of the other ship, which demonstrates that even when workers are well-trained, those that are not can put them at risk. In this particular incident, the other ship, the Lee III, suffered more. The ship partially sank, and five crew members died.
Collision with Fishing Boat
In another incident in 2005, a Zim’s vessel caused a terrible accident. The accident occurred in the waters of northern Japan. The Zim Asia hit a Japanese fishing boat resulting in the deaths of seven men aboard it.
At the time, the Zim officer on duty claimed not to have seen any radar signs of the ship, and he decided not to wake the sleeping captain. They were not found to be negligent but criticized for not rescuing the fishermen.
In 2014 Zim faced yet another unusual incident when pirates in the middle of the ocean attacked a container ship. The incident occurred when the Africa Star was returning to Israel from Southeast Asia.
Pirates fired on the ship, but security guards aboard it were able to fire back and repel the attack. No one was hurt.
Accidents and Maritime Law
Maritime workers always face dangers on the job, but they also have protection in the form of maritime law.
These workers can call on the law to seek compensation after an accident that causes injury or illness. Their dependents can also use these rights when an accident is fatal.
Compensation is significant because it helps maritime workers and their families cover lost wages and medical bills. If you are injured on a maritime job, you can consult a professional maritime lawyer to seek your rights under the law.