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Chinese development of Haifa port faces delays

Haifa, Israel (PortSEurope) March 11, 2019 – Haifa Municipality has registered an objection against the Haifa District Planning and Building Commission regarding planning permission for the port.

The port is scheduled to be developed by China’s Shanghai International Port Group under a contract with Israel Ports Development & Assets Company Ltd (IPC).

Haifa Municipality claims that the plan for the new port will hinder any future development of the neighbouring airfield and into an international airport.

The second issue for Haifa is a possible security situation.

Amid concerns about Chinese influence over key transport facilities, in December 2018, the Israeli government was widely believed to be reviewing the March 2015 deal that gave China’s Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) a 25-year control over the container terminal of the port of Haifa.

Haifa is Israel’s biggest and busiest port. It is also the base of its main naval fleets. Israeli submarines, often reported to be capable of launching nuclear missiles, dock there.

The Chinese firm will be taking over operations at the new Haifa Port (container terminal), which is currently under construction by Shapir Engineering and the Ashtrom group at a cost of NIS 3.96 billion (€920 million), in 2021.

Haifa regularly hosts joint U.S.-Israeli naval drills. It is also a port of call for the U.S. Sixth Fleet, operating in the Mediterranean Sea. The SIPG deal has raised intelligence and security concerns that are only now prompting an Israeli inter-agency review.

Washington raised its concerns with the Israeli government.

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