Israel has inaugurated a new port terminal in Haifa Bay to bolster regional trade and minimise import expenditure.
The $1.7bn (NIS5.5bn) Bay Port at Haifa, on the Mediterranean coast, will be managed by China-based Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).
The new terminal will have the capacity to handle bigger classes of cargo vessels up to roughly 400m in length and with carrying capacities of around 18,000 containers.
In 2015, SIPG secured the tender to operate the commercial shipping centre for 25 years, reported The Times of Israel.
The Haifa Bay terminal has been constructed by two Israeli companies in a span of six years.
In a statement, the Ministry of Transport for Israel said that the terminal will offer unloading and loading services as well as reduce the time taken for terminal operations.
The government-owned Israel Ports Company CEO Yitzhak Blumenthal commented that the terminal is equipped with advanced infrastructure and technologies.
It is intended to address the issue of severe traffic jams at seaports.
Israel is also planning to sell its state-owned ports and establish new private docks.
Israeli Transport Minister Merav Michaeli said: “I’m sure we can leverage this opportunity not just for local prosperity, but for realising opportunities and making a real contribution to our neighbours in the Middle East.”
Additionally, the country is expected to open another new port on the Mediterranean coast, at Ashdod, by the end of the year.
This second new port will be managed by Switzerland-based Terminal Investment.