The first ship has left Liverpool on a new Italia Marittima-Zim container service ’ the third North Atlantic service attracted to the Port since the beginning of 2006.

The 1,800 teu capacity Artemis made the inaugural sailing from the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal bound for New York, Norfolk and Savannah.

The weekly fixed day service will be maintained by four ships, two deployed by Italia Marittima, part of the Evergreen Group, and two by Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

The Italia/Zim service will offer direct calls at Antwerp and Hamburg before Liverpool as the last European port of call.

All three new services to start from Liverpool since the beginning of the year are operated by members of container shipping’s ‘premier league.’

According to Frank Robotham, Marketing Director of Peel Ports Group, owners of the Port of Liverpool, ‘We are delighted to have the Italia Marittima-Zim service to further consolidate Liverpool’s No 1 position in UK-USA container trade. We are particularly pleased that this service opens up the Port of Savannah as a new gateway into the US South Atlantic Region for business through Liverpool.’

The two other North Atlantic container services introduced at Liverpool this year are operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company and Maersk and CMA CGM and China Shipping Container Line.

Agents for the Italia Marittima service are Warrant Group plc of Liverpool. Zim provides their own agency service.