Over the past few months, an increase of more than 25% was registered in the transport of goods from Europe to Jordan through Israel.
According to Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), because of the civil war in Syria, Israel has in recent years become the main land bridge between some Arab and European countries, in particular Turkey and Bulgaria.
Last year roughly 13,000 trucks carrying products, such as figs and shoes from Turkey and Bulgaria passed through Israel en route to Jordan, compared to the 10,300 trucks that passed through the country to Jordan in 2014.
The merchandise is either put on trucks or ferries, or load containers, that are shipped to Haifa, and then from there driven overland to the Nahar Hayarden Bridge and into Jordan. The goods then either remain in Jordan or are shipped from there to points further east and south.
Kara went on Sunday to the Nahar Hayarden border crossing near Beit She’an to inspect preparations there for expanding the freight terminal to allow the handling of an additional 150 trucks a month.
Raffi Shamir, a spokesman in the Regional Cooperation Ministry, said that while the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not promote this route, it also did not hinder it.
Shamir said this route is significant because it adds considerable sums to the country’s coffers. And secondly because it shows both European and Arab countries that Israel is the best and most secure route for transporting goods.
“Let’s say that tomorrow the war in Syria ends,” Shamir said. “The last few years will give exporters a reason to continue to work through Israel, because they know it is a route that is secure and works well.”