Israel inaugurated on Wednesday a new Chinese-operated port in Haifa, Israel's largest port.
The $1.7-billion project is part of China's Belt and Road initiative and will be operated by the China Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG). The Chinese company won the tender to operate the new terminal for 25 years.
Israel has three ports: Haifa on the northern Mediterranean coast, Ashdod on the southern Mediterranean coast and Eilat on the Red Sea in the South.
16 years ago Israel passed a major reform calling for the creation of two new privately-run port terminals – one in Haifa and another in Ashdod – in order to cut costs and shipping times.
98% of goods enter Israel by the sea.
The new Haifa bay terminal, built by two Israeli companies, took six years to complete.
"I'm sure we can leverage this opportunity not just for local prosperity, but for realizing opportunities and making a real contribution to our neighbors in the Middle East," Transport Minister Merav Michaeli said in a statement.
The presence of a Chinese state-owned company operating a shipping dock in Israel may cause concern for its ally America, as it creates a significant presence for the communist nation in the region.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.