Cairo: Israel risks falling off the container map unless it hastens new ports construction, according to research by the Shipping and Ports Authority director general Captain Yigal Maor. Currently, the two state run ports, Ashdod and Haifa can handle ships of up to 9,000 teu class. With the rise of ever larger boxships, Israeli goods might in the future have to be feedered in from other Mediterranean ports unless new terminals are built, Maor argues, warning inaction on the local ports front could see the nation face a “maritime blockade”. What’s more, in the coming five years congestion at eastern Mediterranean ports is expected to rise considerably, which could lead to feedering from further afield, increasing the price of goods entering Israel dramatically.
The Israeli government is ploughing ahead with plans to develop a couple of private ports, something that has angered workers at Ashdod and Haifa. Four companies have expressed interest in operating one of the new ports Israel is planning to develop in competition with state-owned facilities. The government is counting on the new ports, which are slated to begin operations next to existing facilities in Haifa and Ashdod by 2019, to provide badly needed competition to the nation’s ports scene. [15/01/14]