The Chinese have made another inroad into the Israeli economy, as Shanghai International Port Group won the government tender to operate the new port in Haifa for 25 years.
The Haifa is currently under construction by Shapir Engineering and the Ashtrom group in a project estimated at a cost of almost 4 billion shekels. The new port is expected to open for business in 2021, Ynet reported on Tuesday.
The announcement follows the awarding of a tender in 2014 to China Harbor to build the new Ashdod Port over seven years at a cost of around NIS 3.6 billion.
SIPG, which operates primarily in the Far East, is one of the world’s leading companies in the container cargo field, operating cargo terminals at the world’s largest port in Shanghai, as well as various ports in Europe.
In 2014, SIPG-operated cargo terminals handled a total of some 35 million containers. In comparison, Israel’s ports during the same period handled around 2.5 million containers.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz hailed it as “an historic day for Israel. The Chinese group that won the tender will bring competition to the sector.
“The new ports will create thousands of new jobs and lead to a drop in the cost of living. It’s an expression of confidence in the state of Israel on the part of a superpower, which has decided to invest billions of shekels in Israel and turn it into an international cargo center for all the world.”