Israel has opened a new shipping port, which will be operated by Shanghai International Port Group, along its Mediterranean coast, local reports have said.
The port is expected to bring competition to a sector plagued by delays, and boost Israel’s standing as a regional trade hub.
The Bay Port at Haifa is said to have been cist 5.5 billion shekel ($1.7 billion).
It is expected to enable larger classes of cargo ships, carrying 18,000 containers or more, to dock in Israel.
Israel is selling state-owned ports and building new private docks in an effort bring down costs and cut above-average wait times for vessels to unload, said the local reports.
About 99 percent of all goods move in and out of Israel over sea, and an upgrade is needed to maintain economic growth, they added.
Warming ties with neighboring Arab countries are also creating new trade opportunities for Israel and Haifa is well placed to become a regional hub, said the reports.
Transport Minister Merav Michaeli said in a statement after the inauguration of the port: “I’m sure we can leverage this opportunity not just for local prosperity, but for realizing opportunities and making a real contribution to our neighbors in the Middle East.”
Another new port on the Mediterranean coast is due to open in Ashdod by the end of the year, to be operated Swiss-based Terminal Investment Limited.