Zim-American Israeli Shipping Company, Inc., the 9th largest container ship company in the world, recently moved its U.S. corporate headquarters from New York City to Norfolk, Virginia.
Virginia competed with a number of other states across the country to attract Zim, but a combination of factors, including operating costs, standard of living, and the friendliness of the South, all contributed to Zim's decision to select Virginia.
"Virginia is making it especially attractive for Israeli companies that are trying to break into the U.S. market. This state offers an incredibly strong beachhead for conducting business not only here in the U.S., but also globally," said Nadav Kaplan, CEO of KPI Projects Ltd. Nadav consults to Israeli companies entering the US marketplace, and was a key advisor to Zim in its selection process. "We looked at 132 other cities, and reviewed them based on about 40 different factors, and the Norfolk area kept emerging at the top of the list."
Virginia will allow Zim to better meet its customer requirements, market needs, and future challenges, as well as provide it with a competitive advantage in the multi-billion-dollar-a-year global shipping industry, said Shaul Cohen-Mintz, president of Zim-American Israeli Shipping Company, Inc., which presently ranks as the world's 10th largest container shipping company. Cohen-Mintz said that while the trend for many shipping companies was to move to New Jersey, which has lower operating costs than New York City, Zim expanded its search nationally for the best location to meet its long-term needs. Virginia and the Norfolk area topped the list.
"There were a lot of factors that went into the decision beyond just great port facilities and the Norfolk area being known as a major shipping center, because many states met that criterion," said Cohen-Mintz. "It had a lot to do with the can-do spirit and the willingness of the state to work with us at all levels of government and industry, to court us and put together a package of incentives that went well beyond other states. Virginia's pro-business attitude, which translated into more favorable conditions for us here, is what really made the difference."
Zim's credo -- "all cargo, to all places, at all times" -- is made possible through a fleet of specialized vessels and a network of shipping lines, bridging six continents and connecting hundreds of ports of call around the world, all linked through sophisticated information and communications systems.
"We view Virginia and Norfolk as integral to our global operations and to Zimís ability to open up new trading markets here and abroad," said Cohen-Mintz. "As an Israeli-based company, we also value the strong relations between the U.S. and Israel, and Virginia serves as our gateway for fostering those relations and becoming a focal point for global commerce. People here are very friendly and eager to assist us -- those things are very important. We feel at home here."
Nadav Kaplan can be reached at email@example.com.