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ZIM Shipping Lines will increase its e-commerce Baltimore Express service and the size of its ships coming into the Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced last week.
ZIM exclusively operates the Baltimore Express, which was launched in spring 2022 between China, Southeast Asia and the U.S. East Coast. The company plans to increase the Baltimore Express frequency from biweekly to weekly starting at the end of the month, according to a press release from Moore's office.
ZIM also will increase the size of its ships coming into the port by nearly 50% — first using 6,000 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessels and eventually 8,000 TEU container ships.
"This is great news for the Port of Baltimore," said Maryland Port Administration and Port of Baltimore Executive Director William Doyle. "ZIM has excelled in utilizing our existing rail network to bring cargo into the Midwest."
The port's rising container business will be further buoyed by an expansion of the CSX-owned Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, which is underway and scheduled to be completed in 2025, port officials said.
The expanded tunnel will accommodate double-stacked container rail cars traveling to and from the port, clearing a longtime hurdle and providing the East Coast with seamless double-stack capacity from Maine to Florida, as well as the ability to send double-stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and on to Chicago.
The project involves clearance improvements in the 127-year-old tunnel and at 21 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The project is expected to increase the port’s business by about 160,000 containers annually, port officials said.
CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway offer intermodal service on a daily basis from the port.