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ZIM’s Eli Glickman discusses shipping’s new normal in latest Maritime CEO magazine

2020’s final Maritime CEO issue sees Eli Glickman, CEO of Israeli carrier ZIM, on the cover. Glickman has presided over a dramatic turnaround at the world’s 10th largest containerline, and now the aim is to push through a successful IPO.

ZIM notched up a record net profit of $144.4m in the third quarter, a year-on-year improvement of 2,818%. Perhaps more impressively for an industry that has traditionally struggled with paper thin margins, ZIM reported an EBITDA of 25.9% for the three-month period.

“ZIM is one of the smallest among the big 12 global liners, but we have begun to show we are number one in EBITDA margins by far,” Glickman tells Maritime CEO, going on to predict his company’s Q4 results will be even better.

“We are among the smallest, it is not that easy, but we are surprising from the back,” Glickman says.

This underdog narrative is one that appeals to Glickman. ZIM likes to market itself as nimble, asset light and close to customer needs – and there are clear signs this attitude is paying off.

Witness, for instance, the marketing of its e-commerce branded services this year, high speed sailings from China to Amazon-buying centres in America and Australia.

“This is just the beginning, our digital differentiation is beginning. Our new tools we’ve created in the last two years are going to make a huge difference,” Glickman says.

The asset light model continues with Glickman saying he has no plans to order any new ships soon. However, unlike most of his competitors, one key asset Glickman has not let go of at all during the pandemic is his staff, something he’s justifiably proud about.

Prior to joining ZIM three years ago, Glickman held a number of roles at a local utility company, including VP of customer services. He took this experience to liner shipping, combing digital services with human resources.

“ZIM is considered today to have the best customer service in the world,” Glickman claims, adding: “We did not fire or furlough anyone in the company despite the roll out of digital tools and coronavirus.”

The full interview with the ZIM boss is carried in the magazine aimed at shipping’s elite. Elsewhere, the publication features specials on offshore wind and the future of shipmanagement plus our regular market commentary and top columnists and the results of our latest quarterly survey, MarPoll.

Splash readers can access the whole magazine for free by clicking here.

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