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Israeli government approves Haifa Port privatisation

Israeli government approves Haifa Port privatisation

The government of Israel has approved a plan to privatise the Port of Haifa after two years of deliberations, aiming to attract new investment and increase competition.

Local media has reported that the sale will be completed by 2022 and the lease will last through 2054.

A minimum investment of US$290m is required by the winning bidder, of which at least US$115m should be used for infrastructure investments.

Eshel Armony, chairman of Haifa Port, said: “This is a historic moment that comes after two years of intensive work and a long-term strategic process, the purpose of which is to enable Haifa Port to flourish in a competitive environment.

“We must work to implement the privatisation and identify buyers who will drive Haifa Port forward in the coming decades.”

Workers at the port will receive a privatisation bonus and a portion of the remaining funding will be used for layoff compensation for approximately 200 positions.

The auction for control of the port has been widely expected to attract Chinese interest as it would have synergies with a nearby Chinese-run container terminal.

In 2019, Israel awarded Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) a 25-year concession to operate Haifa’s new Bay Terminal and it will take over operations in 2021.