Middle EastPorts and Logistics

Israel’s ports poised for privatisation

Cairo: Israel’s privatisation tsar has outlined plans to sell off stakes in the country’s two main ports by the end of this year among a host of other state-run entities set to be opened up to private investors, a move that is likely to rekindle resentment from Israel’s notoriously militant dockworkers. Both Ashdod and Haifa dockworkers have gone on strike repeatedly in past months with Tel Aviv planning to open up the ports sector to private competition.

Of the 87 companies that remain in government hands, the 10 set to be sold generated nearly 90% of revenue, said Ori Yogev, the head of the Government Companies Authority.

49% of Ashdod port will be sold by this December on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with the controlling stake to be sold in 2020, Yogev revealed yesterday. A similar deal for Haifa will be hatched out too.

The ports will join a host of other state-backed conglomerates up for privatisation including Israel Military Industries – the developer of the Uzi submachine gun. Given the militancy of Israel’s dockworker unions, the path to privatisation will not be easy and the move could still be shot down.

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