US-based North Carolina Ports has entered into a new collaboration with ZIM Integrated Shipping to improve its access to the markets in South China, Southeast Asia and Indian Subcontinent.

ZIM has added North Carolina’s port in Wilmington, Delaware into its Z7S all-water Asia-US East Coast service rotation programme as part of the new agreement.

The weekly Z7S container service currently contains 11 vessels averaging 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in size, and will begin calling on the Wilmington port in June via the Suez Canal.

The new deal will also enable North Carolina Ports to have direct access to Da Chan Bay, Yantian, China; Cai Mep, Vietnam; Port Kelang, Malaysia; and Colombo, Sri Lanka. Additionally, it could now attract more agricultural exports through the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) facility.

North Carolina Ports executive director Paul Cozza said: “This ZIM service will support legacy apparel, furniture and hardware industries throughout the Carolinas.

"North Carolina Ports will continue to be at the forefront by adapting to commercial developments across the Southeast, delivering further options for regional importers and exporters."

“It’s an incredibly unique offering which shows our commitment to both reliable and flexible shipping solutions for our customers.”

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ZIM and CKYHE Alliance signed a slot chartering agreement early last year, which covers the Port of Wilmington.

North Carolina Ports chief commercial officer Greg Fennell said: “North Carolina Ports will continue to be at the forefront by adapting to commercial developments across the Southeast.

“Our approach has extended our global reach, delivering further options for regional importers and exporters.”

The port has recently placed an ordered to buy two new Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, with an option for two more from Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry.

The deal was aimed at preparing the port to handle the increasing scale of its activities.