The Global Logistics & Equipment Division is responsible for procuring, maintaining, and repositioning ZIM’s containers fleet.
Every year, we move millions of empty containers around the world to support the commercial demands of our customers. Our target is to supply the equipment required to the right places, at the right time, and in the most effective manner. Obviously, this is a very complex operation that involves several teams from different geographies. Global Logistics is the facilitator of the commercial activity.
Reefers’ trade becomes a far greater challenge due to seasonality, customer-specific requirements, and technical issues. Since we consider reefers to be one of the company’s growth engines, we keep improving our performance and align ourselves to improving customer service.
Four years ago, ZIM’s management took a strategic decision to renew and expand our reefers fleet with the aim of having the youngest and ‘smartest’ fleet in the industry. To meet this objective, we engaged in a massive new build plan and increased ZIM’s reefers stock by 50%. Our reefers are built according to the most rigorous standards to ensure optimum insulation and durability.
All our new units are equipped with our state-of-the-art ZIMonitor devices. These provide 24/7 tracking, temperature control, and various alerts to ensure the safety of the cargo. Today, we have the best reefers fleet in the industry with an average age below 5 years and ZIMonitor coverage of more than 70%.
Our regional logistics centers are responsible for optimizing stock levels according to trade demand and ensuring global coverage. While the reefers are manufactured in China, they are needed all over the world at different periods of time throughout the year. There are ongoing efforts to move our stocks around to meet shifting demands. Recently, we chartered a special vessel from China to the Mediterranean to reposition thousands of brand new reefers and support the high season in the Mediterranean.
The spike in global shipping following the Covid-19 pandemic stretched our supply lines and put additional strain on our network. Nonetheless, we were successful in achieving double-digit growth in ZIM’s reefers activity by efficiently reusing our equipment and maximizing average trips per year.
Unlike dry units, reefer containers require special maintenance to provide the high quality of service demanded by our customers. To avoid malfunctions, throughout hundreds of service points we perform full PTI prior to each reefer shipment and any necessary adjustments for specialized cargo like pharma or food grade. Spare parts kits are available onboard all operated vessels as well as in inland depots.
As part of the digitalization trend, our dedicated reefer technical teams are rolling out several projects to improve remote monitoring, minimize manual interference, and reduce empty tracking miles to/from depots. These features also improve our product offerings, as we provide additional services to our customers allowing them better visibility and control over their shipments.
Written by: Gil Lehmann, Head of Global Logistics and Equipment