WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - North Carolina Ports announced a new partnership on Monday with ZIM Integrated Shipping Ltd.
The container carrier recently added the Port of Wilmington to its Z7S all-water Asia-U.S. East Coast service rotation. This weekly service will begin calling on the port in June and provides unprecedented access to major markets in South China, Southeast Asia and India Subcontinent.
The Z7S service is the first container service to call the Port of Wilmington using the Suez Canal. Its rotation includes direct access to Da Chan Bay, Yantian, Cai Mep, Port Kelang and Colombo. Outside of Yantian, each of these port calls are new to North Carolina Ports.
ZIM is another returning ocean carrier to the Port of Wilmington after a slot chartering agreement with the CKYHE Alliance in early 2016. The container carrier's Z7S string will feature 11 vessels averaging 5,000 TEUs in size.
"It's a special time to be a part of North Carolina Ports," Chairman of the North Carolina State Ports Authority Board of Directors Tom Adams said. "We've had three major service announcements in just over a month which sets us up for record throughput."
To prepare for growth, North Carolina Ports recently announced the order of two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more from designer Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Company Ltd. (ZPMC). Between the new cranes, turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, and the expansion of the container yard, North Carolina Ports will pump over $120 million into its infrastructure over the next few years.
Similar to other recent service announcements at North Carolina Ports, the Z7S container service could also attract more agricultural exports through the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) facility.
The demand for pork and poultry is particularly high and it is anticipated that the new Z7S container service, dovetailed with the capabilities of the PWCS facility, will give North Carolina farmers the opportunity to significantly grow their export business to Asia through North Carolina Ports.