Israel will aid the economy of San Francisco as a result of an agreement signed in Haifa Monday by Mayor Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco and Matty Morgenstern, general manager of the State-owned Zim Lines.
The 10-year pact provides for ships of the Zim Container Services to call at San Francisco on their out-ward voyages to the Far East instead of at the port of Oakland across the bay, where they have been docking until now. The switch is expected to bring millions of dollars worth of business to the port of San Francisco, save Zim a half-million dollars a year in lower harbor dues and benefit shippers by faster service.
Feinstein, who is Jewish, came to Israel to sign the agreement and to strengthen San Francisco’s sister-city relationship with Haifa, Israel’s main sea port. Sister-city relations tend to be cultural and educational, typified by student exchanges and the maritime archaeological exhibit that Haifa sent to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in 1983. The port-of-call arrangement with Zim is an economic coup.
ZIM HAS LARGEST FLEET OF CONTAINERS
The Israeli shipping company boasts one of the largest fleets of container ships in the world under single ownership. Most general cargos are containerized. The agreement with San Francisco, under negotiation for five years, hinged on completion of a container terminal in the Golden Gate city.
It is the only container terminal in California with a railhead on the quays. This allows ships to unload containers directly on railroad flatcars instead of on trucks which must deliver them to the railroad terminals.
The containership Zim Keelung will inaugurate the service on March 21. Feinstein said after the signing ceremonies that she was delighted to have landed Zim because of its size and reputation among shippers. She said she still hopes to persuade the Zim management to schedule calls at San Francisco on homeward voyages from the Far East. But Zim officials noted that their ships call at U.S. East Coast ports on their return trips, by-passing California.
BUSY SCHEDULE FOR FEINSTEIN
Before signing the agreement, Feinstein went jogging on Mt. Carmel and visited tourist sites in the Haifa area. While in Israel she will visit Jerusalem for meetings with Mayor Teddy Kollek and various government officials. She will also visit Tel Aviv.
Before leaving the U.S. she said she had hoped to visit Kiryat Shemona, San Francisgo’s Project Renewal city on the Lebanese border, but may not be able to do so because of lack of time.
Zim pioneered its trans-Pacific service to the Far East in the early 1960’s. The service, known then as Pacific Star Line, employed chartered vessels. Zim now has 10 containerships on the run.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.