ZIM: an innovative industry leader

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services is by no means a new name in global shipping. With a legacy stretching back to 1945 and a pioneering role in the container revolution, ZIM is well known to those familiar with the shipping industry. But it was the year of the pandemic that brought ZIM to center stage: having achieved a complete turnaround in terms of efficiency, innovation and profitability under President & CEO Eli Glickman, the company made the headlines after a successful IPO in the New York Stock Exchange – ranked among the best-performing IPOs of 2021 – and the staggering financial results in 2020 and 2021 (Net Income of $888 million in Q2 2021!).

ZIM’s transformation was achieved through a profound revaluation in ZIM’s organizational culture, embracing a new vision and new values that encompass all spheres of activity. The new spirit is epitomized by “The Z-Factor” – ZIM’s catchphrase for a set of core values – which constitutes the company’s “secret ingredient”.

ZIM’s transformation, and its differentiated position in the market, relies on several pillars: a distinct strategy – global niche carrier – focusing on trade routes where ZIM has a competitive advantage, an asset-light model, with most vessels chartered, allowing for agility and fast response to market needs, innovation through advanced digital tools, big data, Artificial Intelligence, and investment in technological partnerships. All this goes hand-in-hand with ZIM’s paramount emphasis on quality customer service with a fresh approach, such as the “Powered By Our Customers” concept presented in this article.

During the pandemic crisis, ZIM introduced new specialized e-Commerce lines including the China Australia Express (CAX), which proved a resounding success. The company has grown from operating about 60 vessels to over 120, increasing its container fleet by more than 50%. ZIM’s second-quarter carried volume increased by 44% year-over-year, substantially higher than market growth.

Looking ahead, ZIM signed a long-term chartering deal with Seaspan for 25 new ultra-modern “green” vessels, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

Upon ZIM’s entry into the Australian market in late 2020, ZIM’s President and CEO Eli Glickman said: “We see great opportunity in the Australian trade and believe our unique Z Factor and innovative, yet personal approach will be appreciated and valued by customers in this market.” Since then, two additional lines from China and Southeast Asia to Australia (C2A) and an Australia – New Zealand feeder (N2A) have been added to ZIM’s portfolio in the region, catering to customers’ growing needs in this challenging time for the supply chain worldwide.

The recently inaugurated ZIM Australia office is headed by John Van Pelt, while in New Zealand, ZIM is represented by Inchcape Shipping Services McKay, headed by David Mitchel.


John Van Pelt, Australia Country Manager

David Mitchell, New Zealand Country Manager
While sea transportation moves at a very low speed of 13 knots on average, ZIM decided to make a strategic decision several years ago to jump on the technology wagon and lead a revolution that would bring about change. Until three years ago, it was almost impossible to find digital practices, high-end technologies and focus on customer experience in the world of cargo transportation. ZIM was among the first to realize that the world was changing drastically, and that a focused, customer-centric approach was a must to continue to lead in the industry.

The major challenge ZIM faced was enhancing customer experience and looking beyond operational service to adopt a more holistic approach where the customer’s needs are at the center.

“The world of container shipping services has been in ‘survival’ mode for more than a decade. The number of global players has shrunk by almost half as a result of mergers and acquisitions, and most of the remaining top carriers entered into operational alliances that led to almost no differentiation except in terms of the basic product and price. All these led to very low level of customer loyalty,” explains Assaf Tiran, VP of Global Customer Service at ZIM. “The main objective of focusing and investing in customer experience was not only to advance technologically, but also to differentiate ZIM from its competitors. By focusing on cementing a relationship with our customers based on confidence and peace of mind, we knew we were building a connection based on loyalty that would have them come back to ZIM over and over again.”

ZIM is one of the top ten companies in global shipping. The fact that it is not a member of any of the major alliances enables the company to promote collaborations in certain trades and to continue operating fully independently. The proof is in the pudding – while in recent years many companies had to break off activities and close lines, ZIM launched a new dedicated e-commerce line, the fastest on the market, between southern China and the west coast of the United States. Another high-speed line from China to Australia was added just recently.

“Our vision as a company is to innovate and revolutionize the containerized shipping services making them more and more digital. This applies not only to our products but also to our customers’ experience. We now have a 360-degree view of their needs, and they themselves tell us that their experience with our services has improved dramatically”.

To continue enjoying its leadership position in the market, ZIM invested millions of dollars in innovative IT systems and made changes to its organizational structure to support the shift. Each customer now receives personal attention throughout and across all interfaces, from booking – including the complex documentation processes, which is now digitized – through ongoing updates to cargo release. “Our human response time is one of the best in the industry. An advanced CRM system enables our service representatives to obtain a 360-degree view of each customer, truly getting to know them and their needs,” says Tiran. “Better response times and service-resolution levels, as well a variety of new digital platforms and services ensure customers receive the best possible service in the shortest possible time. Omnichannel support also enables them to choose their preferred channel of communication at any given time.”

Powered by our customers, for our customers

How did this change come to be? ZIM identified there was a gap between the revolution they wanted to conduct and the changes they wanted to achieve, and the target population that was used to work differently. So, they decided that they had to go through this important journey in partnership with their customers, together.

“Being truly focused on your customers means having an open and constant dialogue with them. Although the container shipping industry is rather conservative, as in any other industry there are those that are ‘early adopters’ and welcome change. We tried to engage those early adopters while encouraging other customers to embrace the change by choice. This is how our ‘Powered by Our Customers’ approach came to be. It is a working methodology in which ZIM customers take an active part in the design and implementation of ZIM’s digital experience – By our Customers, for our Customers!”, continues Tiran.

“Over two years ago, we launched a major campaign in digital channels, inviting community members to actively participate in shaping ZIM’s digital-services experience. The campaign generated amazing results and today we have more than 500 global ‘influencers’ on board. Since then, they have been involved in the decision-making process, and some of them also participate in user testing. It is thanks to this amazing group of customers that we made giant strides towards better user experience. We upgraded our official website, introduced an advanced personal area called myZIM that offers a wide range of customized services down to the level of individual users, and augmented our digital services.”

One of the most popular features driven by this change is Draft B/L, which revolutionizes the traditional process of approving or editing a draft bill of lading. ZIM succeeded in fully digitizing a process that used to be mostly manual, often going through many changes until it became final, making it very frustrating.


Assaf Tiran, VP of Global Customer Service

“We have developed the ability to manage a joint document where the two parties can create it digitally, together, in a collaborative manner, much like editing a Word document,” adds Tiran. “Only three months after the service went live, it received the highest rating among several new features.”

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, ZIM quickly introduced a new push notification system that enables customers to receive real-time mobile notifications about urgent changes in the company’s operations around the world. “The outbreak of COVID-19 in the Far East at the beginning of 2020 forced us to cope with some operational challenges, which sometimes affected our ability to provide timely and continued responses. Feedback from our customers made it clear that such extreme situations require creative solutions. They communicated to us that it was difficult for them to follow our advisories on our website, as they were struggling to maintain business continuity themselves. This led to the development of the push notifications, which went live in a very short time, helping us also to increase downloads of our mobile application”.

Tiran emphasizes that the company’s Israeli DNA as a startup nation and its unwavering commitment to innovation undoubtedly help differentiate ZIM as a leader in customer experience.

“ZIM is a global company, but we are very proud of our startup nation DNA and way of thinking. It is what guides us to introduce new strategic initiatives and innovations, such as the collaboration with e-commerce giant Alibaba, and groundbreaking Israeli startups like WAVE and Ladingo. As our can-do approach value states, ‘we always have the will and will always find the way’ to improve shipping services and customer experience.”

Now’s your chance to take an active part in our journey

ZIM: an innovative industry leader

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services is by no means a new name in global shipping. With a legacy stretching back to 1945 and a pioneering role in the container revolution, ZIM is well known to those familiar with the shipping industry. But it was the year of the pandemic that brought ZIM to center stage: having achieved a complete turnaround in terms of efficiency, innovation and profitability under President & CEO Eli Glickman, the company made the headlines after a successful IPO in the New York Stock Exchange – ranked among the best-performing IPOs of 2021 – and the staggering financial results in 2020 and 2021 (Net Income of $888 million in Q2 2021!).

ZIM’s transformation was achieved through a profound revaluation in ZIM’s organizational culture, embracing a new vision and new values that encompass all spheres of activity. The new spirit is epitomized by “The Z-Factor” – ZIM’s catchphrase for a set of core values – which constitutes the company’s “secret ingredient”.

ZIM’s transformation, and its differentiated position in the market, relies on several pillars: a distinct strategy – global niche carrier – focusing on trade routes where ZIM has a competitive advantage, an asset-light model, with most vessels chartered, allowing for agility and fast response to market needs, innovation through advanced digital tools, big data, Artificial Intelligence, and investment in technological partnerships. All this goes hand-in-hand with ZIM’s paramount emphasis on quality customer service with a fresh approach, such as the “Powered By Our Customers” concept presented in this article.

During the pandemic crisis, ZIM introduced new specialized e-Commerce lines including the China Australia Express (CAX), which proved a resounding success. The company has grown from operating about 60 vessels to over 120, increasing its container fleet by more than 50%. ZIM’s second-quarter carried volume increased by 44% year-over-year, substantially higher than market growth.

Looking ahead, ZIM signed a long-term chartering deal with Seaspan for 25 new ultra-modern “green” vessels, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

Upon ZIM’s entry into the Australian market in late 2020, ZIM’s President and CEO Eli Glickman said: “We see great opportunity in the Australian trade and believe our unique Z Factor and innovative, yet personal approach will be appreciated and valued by customers in this market.” Since then, two additional lines from China and Southeast Asia to Australia (C2A) and an Australia – New Zealand feeder (N2A) have been added to ZIM’s portfolio in the region, catering to customers’ growing needs in this challenging time for the supply chain worldwide.

The recently inaugurated ZIM Australia office is headed by John Van Pelt, while in New Zealand, ZIM is represented by Inchcape Shipping Services McKay, headed by David Mitchel.


John Van Pelt, Australia Country Manager

David Mitchell, New Zealand Country Manager