ZIM’s journey to push the boundaries of digital shipping and freight visibility

Today, ZIM is undergoing a new digital transformation, offering its customers and partners in global freight shipping and logistics a truly differentiated experience — with more data on their cargo, more quickly, conveniently, and securely than ever before. ZIM made a provisional agreement to join TradeLens in March 2019, starting a digital integration process with the blockchain-based, open and neutral supply chain platform.

The partnership launched with a kick-off workshop hosted at ZIM’s headquarters at Haifa, Israel. TradeLens approached the meeting hoping to learn how ZIM tracks data on their consignments and how that data could be effectively transmitted to the TradeLens platform. Together ZIM and TradeLens mapped out the key movements of a typical ZIM customer’s consignment — the digitally flagged events that make up a container journey from origin to destination.

A history of innovation

Adaptation and innovation have been essential to ZIM’s enterprise since its founding. After pivoting to shipping and many decades of expansion into the global marketplace, ZIM pioneered the carrier industry’s adoption of container technology in 1972 with ZIM Container Service (ZCS). Later, at the height of the crises in global shipping and Asia’s financial markets during the late 1990s, ZIM’s foresight renovating and expanding its fleet positioned it to weather instability while still managing to offer a weekly fixed-day sailing schedule and 50% expanded cargo capacity.

ZIM joins TradeLens global digital ecosystem

ZIM put considerable resources behind this integration plan, assigning project manager Amir Gabay, along with various personnel with experience in Quality Assurance, ZIM’s legacy digital communications systems, customer service, and business relationship management. The carrier also tapped the knowledge of its executive leadership including Eyal Ben-Amran, EVP, Chief Information Officer and security team, in this process.

In August of 2019, that work reached a point where ZIM could experiment with sending consignment pulses — sample data real enough to test — into a designated TradeLens test environment for quality assurance and end-to-end evaluation.

By mid-October 2019, the TradeLens sandbox environment was ready to receive actual consignment data from a subset of ZIM’s client base. This process helped all parties better understand how the integration would function in the TradeLens “live” or production environment.

More relevant data in real-time

By January 31, 2020, real-time data on consignments in flight from ZIM began flowing into the TradeLens production environment, where it is now available for consumption by permissioned parties.

Currently, ZIM records and distributes key foundational events that follow a container shipment’s ocean journey. As their integration work continues, ZIM will begin providing key shipping documents digitally through TradeLens, as well as an expanded set of information on its consignments, offering insight into the door to door journey across transportation modes.

At heart, allowing all stakeholders in the shipping supply chain access to real-time data on their freight is the goal of integrating ZIM’s carrier services with the TradeLens platform. Whether a ZIM customer, a ZIM partner, or a member of ZIM’s customer support team, stakeholders can now access more valuable and timely information about their shipments through the TradeLens Platform.

Keep up on the latest

We’ll continue to follow ZIM’s digital journey here. Please subscribe to the blog to catch the latest on this and other news from around the TradeLens Ecosystem.

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