Port of Haifa sold for 1.2 billion dollars
The Israeli port of Haifa has been sold to India’s Adani Ports (70%) and Israel’s Gadot Group (30%) after a two-year privatisation process. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the winning bid of the equivalent of $1.2 billion from this combination was 55% above that of the second bidder, whose identity was not disclosed.
According to Haaretz, US President Joe Biden put heavy pressure on Israel not to sell the port to a Chinese party during his recent visit. Haifa is the country’s main port with a cargo throughput of nearly thirty million tons and one and a half million teu. Almost two years ago, Dubai-based DP World applied for the takeover. This happened within days of the signing of the peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
The privatisation should lead to greater efficiency and improvement of the logistics process. It is unclear to what extent the buyers have committed to investing in the modernisation of the port. The new owners will have to compete with the Haifa Bay Port, just a stone’s throw away, which the China Shanghai International Port Group opened two years ago.
Adani Ports is owned by Gautam Adani, one of the world’s wealthiest men. He is ranked eleven on Forbes’ global millionaire rankings with an estimated wealth of $90 billion. His holdings include the Port of Mundra, India’s largest private port, and the Mumbai airport.
In a tweet announcing his winning of the tender, he did not comment on his plans for the port of Haifa. He does, however, refer to a notable Indian contribution to Haifa’s history. In 1918, the port city was captured from the Ottoman Empire by Indian horsemen from the British Army in what he says was one of the greatest cavalry attacks ever.