Israeli carrier Zim is pressing ahead with entering the Asia-Australia trade despite the high levels of container congestion being witnessed at its main gateway ports.

After weeks of industrial action, coupled with bad weather that has affected shipping schedules and a mounting trade imbalance, Australian ports, particularly Sydney, are struggling to clear a severe cargo backlog.

However, Zim announced today that it will launch its new China Australia Express (CAX) service in the middle of next month, with an 11-day transit time from South China to Sydney, which its claimed is “one of the fastest in the market”.

The CAX service will have a port rotation of Ningbo-Shanghai-Yantian-Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane-Ningbo and will deploy six 2,500 teu vessels with “extensive capacity and plugs for refrigerated cargo”.

“A fleet of new, advanced reefer units fitted with ZIMonitor system for constant monitoring and damage prevention will be available to customers on the new service,” the company said.

ZIM president and chief executive Eli Glickman added: “We are very pleased to start operating in the Australian trade in view of the high demand in the market. I am sure this new service will provide a solution to customers’ growing needs in this trade.

“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.”

According to liner shipping database eeSea, the Asia-Oceania trade will have a headhaul proforma capacity of 379,000 teu in October – at the time of writing, out of 82 scheduled sailings, seven are set to be blanked.

Yesterday, CMA CGM’s Australian subsidiary ANL announced that North China-Australia A3 service will omit a call at Sydney and a call at Melbourne next month as it continues to recover its schedule following “delays due to poor weather in Asia and ongoing port congestion in Australia”.

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