Netanyahu gives nod to Eilat canal port plan

The plan is to create an alternative to the Suez Canal via a rail link to Eilat.

Sources inform "Globes" that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered that the plan for constructing a canal port in Eilat should go ahead. This follows offers from Chinese companies to build the port, planned for the north coast of Eilat. In the future, it will be possible for a railway line to Eilat to be linked directly to the port, forming an alternative to the Suez Canal as a trade route.

The plan for the canal port was presented to the prime minister is a discussion that took place this week on developing Eilat, attended by the ministers of finance and transport, heads of the Ministry of Finance Budget Division, the mayor of Eilat, and representatives of the Israel Ports Company. The plan has in the past aroused opposition from the Ministry of Finance, which sees it as economically not worthwhile.

The activity of the Eilat port is currently limited by the cost of overland transport from Eilat to the center of the country, which makes importing containers into Eilat unjustifiable. Furthermore, the existing port cannot be connected to a railway because of topographical constraints which would make it necessary to sink the railway line at a cost of some NIS 1 billion. Under the Southern Gate plan, a deep water canal would be dug at the northern end of Eilat, next to the border with Jordan. The canal port would be able to handle containers that would be transported by rail to the center of Israel.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 20, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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