July date set for Israeli port tenders

  • Tenders for two US$1 billion ports to be offered on a build-operate-transfer basis from July 1st, says transportation minister

Israel will issue tenders for the development of two new ports in the country at the start of July, says transportation minister Yisrael Katz.

The two ports, to be offered on a build-operate-transfer basis, will cost in the region of US$1 billion to develop, with private companies invited to submit their bids from July 1st, Katz told Haaretz.

Last week, the Israeli government pledged to end the dominance of the country’s two major ports, Ashdod and Haifa, by introducing private piers to increase competition within the Israeli port sector.

By issuing the tenders it not only signals the government’s intent to move forward with port reforms but will also “put an end to the situation of militant committees taking advantage of their power and receiving excessive privileges at the expense of the general public,” said Katz in reference to the country’s port unions.

Port unions in Israel are among the most powerful in the country with its 2,400-strong workforce earning double that of the average public sector worker. Go-slow tactics and work stoppages have become notorious at Israel’s state-owned ports.

“The committees won't have a veto to prevent competition,” explained Katz.

With Israel’s transportation ministry declining to hold negotiations with unions before issuing the tenders, work disruptions and a general strike remain a distinct possibility. The ministry has already begun making contingency plans in the likelihood of strike action, including hiring foreign workers and even calling up Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) personnel to ensure the country’s major port facilities continue to operate.


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