Bermuda International Shipping Ltd. (BISL) was formed in 1984 as a Bermudian-based shipping alternative by a consortium of 65 local individuals and companies. Meyer Agencies, led by Mr. Henry Hayward, was appointed as the local agent in Bermuda.

The inaugural voyage for BISL was made by Clifford R. Simmons, which sailed on September 19, 1984, and provided cargo service from the Port of Jacksonville, Florida, to Bermuda. The vessel’s namesake was the late Clifford Simmons, manager of the Meyer Agency freight department.

Five years later on April 28, 1989, BISL commenced weekly service to Bermuda from the Port of Salem, New Jersey, with the sailing of the Bermuda Islander, a name now familiar to many Bermudians.

The Port of Salem, new to Bermuda’s importers at that time, is located on the Northeast U.S. coast with ideal proximity to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. It offers direct access to road and rail service without the time-consuming and expensive delays associated with the larger East Coast ports.   

The Bermuda Islander continues to arrive in Bermuda each Thursday year-round with cargo from the U.S. and Canada, and from around the globe through connections with Independent Container Line and Mediterranean Shipping Corporation.

The weekly arrival of the Bermuda Islander was moved to Thursday in November 1998 upon request by Bermuda-based importers who desired the advantages of a staggered arrival schedule from the Northeast U.S.  Thursday arrivals mean less congestion on the Hamilton docks and allow Bermudians to enjoy fresh produce for their weekend shopping.