ZIM Israel has ordered five container ships of 3,400 TEU (20-foot equivalent units) from HDW shipyards in Germany at a cost of US$250 million. ''We can confirm that we have signed a letter of intent for five container ships with the Israeli company Zim,'' HDW company spokesman Juergen Rohweder said. The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered in April 1996 and the last in February 1997. The company also has options to build another three ships at the yards. The order is part of the company's fleet renewal programme. Zim, one of the 10 largest container shipping companies in the world, continues its policy of maintaining a high level of service for its customers, and making available to them vessels and technology among the newest in the world. As part of this policy the company has in recent years bought for Zim Container Service (ZCS) seven new container vessels. The last in the series, Zim Israel, was delivered in August 1992. The five newly ordered vessels will be operated by this service, and will call at ports in Israel, Europe, the United States and the Far East.