ZIM’s LNG-powered ultra-large containership sets sail on maiden voyage

ZIM Sammy Ofer, the first LNG-fuelled containership to join ZIM’s fleet, has kick-started its maiden voyage, the Israeli shipping company said.

Illustration; Image credit ZIM Shipping

The containership departed Asia earlier this week heading for the United States East Coast. The vessel joins ZIM’s flagship service, ZIM Container Service Pacific (ZCP), from Asia to the USA East Coast. After touring U.S. ports Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, and New York the vessel is expected to proceed to Haifa for a ‘grand welcoming ceremony’ scheduled for April 30th, 2023.

The vessel was named and delivered at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) in February 2023. The vessel is named after the late shipping magnate Sammy Ofer, who passed away in 2011. 

The LNG-powered 15,000 TEU boxship was built for Seaspan and chartered by Israel-based shipowner ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. It is the first of a total of ten vessels of the same size intended for ZIM.

The LNG-powered ZIM Sammy Ofer is expected to provide a 23% emission reduction, an important step forward in the industry’s journey to decarbonize, Seaspan said.

The Neo-Panamax vessel is 366-meters long with a 51-meter beam. Its prominent features include a twin-islands design and a unique vertical bow, tailor-made hull form design optimized for operation profile. It has a max service speed of 22.5 knots, a dual-fuel main engine with output of 46,000kW at 80 rpm, and an Energy Efficiency Design Index to meet the tightened emission standards in the future. It will be the first ZIM LNG vessel to call the US East Coast.

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To secure the fuel for the LNG-powered ships, ZIM has signed a ten-year marine LNG sales and purchase agreement with Shell, valued at more than $1 billion.

On the basis that LNG emits ~20% less GHG emissions when compared to conventional marine fuels, using LNG on these ten ships is equivalent to having two out of the ten vessels in the fleet with zero emission, ZIM said in a statement when the agreement was signed.