Haifa, Israel (PortSEurope) October 25, 2020 – Reports from Bloomberg and local source suggest that Turkish and UAE companies may be interesting in taking a stake in Haifa port which is set to be privatised. Last year, Israel awarded Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) a 25-year concession to operate the port’s new Bay Terminal from 2021. This led to the U.S. government to put pressure
on Israel to restrict Chinese investment in key Israeli industries such as ports. Washington has concerns with the SIPG development and does not want to see a new Chinese business with the latest technology at a port where the U.S. Sixth Fleet is a regular visitor. Also, Washington is concerned that China will use the harbour to improve its standing in the Middle East and potentially gather intelligence on U.S. interests. Also, last September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements formalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations. This has led to further corporate agreements linked to improving commercial relations between the two countries. Economic links are expanding quickly and this might encourage Israel to favour UAE involvement in the management of the port. One such agreement was the UAE’s DP World and Israel Shipyards’ DoverTower subsidiary signing an agreement to cooperate in shipping and port activities. A joint bid to operate Haifa port is under serious consideration. Reports suggest that Turkey’s has also indicated an interest. Ankara has been highly critical of the Israel-UAE agreement and withdrew its ambassador from the Gulf state. This marks a further increase in regional tension between the two countries. Via subsidiary Yilport, Yildirum operates port terminals in the Nordic countries, Latin America and around the Mediterranean Sea. These include Turkey, Malta, Spain and Portugal. This interest might also be because of pressure from Washington. Potential investors include GraeStone Logistics of the U.S. and UK-based Global Ports Holding, also with Turkish ownership. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.
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