Israel Ports Development Co.
The Mediterranean port of Ashdod is one of two key Israeli ports set for a $2.2-billion expansion and upgrade.

Israel's planned $2.2-billion project to build new container terminals at the Haifa and Ashdod ports is attracting interest from global contenders.

The Israel Ports Development Co. said earlier this month that six foreign companies from Europe, China and South Africa have submitted bids to prequalify for the terminal construction at the two Mediterranean coast ports. Two Israeli firms are among the contenders.

According to Israeli business publication Globes, the company did not identify the bidders, but cite project sources that named Israeli firms Ashtrom Properties Ltd. and Shafir Civil and Marine Engineering Ltd. as among them. They say the Israeli firms may also have French or Spanish team partners.

The expansion contract involves construction of new breakwaters and wharves, as well as dredging services and terminal reclamation for new facilities that will be able to handle new Triple E size container ships.

Company CEO Shlomo Brieman says that Israel would need two new container terminals within the next decade. The first would go into service in 2018. Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz will have to decide which port project will be given priority or whether they will be developed simultaneously.

The company is set to issue a more detailed ports plan this month that also will include a controversial decision on whether the projects will be managed by the government or a private franchisee, according to Globes.

Separately, U.S.-based Finley Engineering Group has been selected to provide design and construction services for four segmental bridge projects in Israel that total about $490 million in value.  The projects are key elements of major highway projects currently under way.

Construction of two of the projects—the Motza bridge along Israel’s highway 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the highway 722 in Haifa—were awarded to Israel’s Danya Cebus Ltd.

The other two, awarded to Shikun & Binui Solel Boneh Building and Infrastructure Ltd., involve bridges along highways in northern Israel.

The Motza span is the most complex, part of the planned upgrade of a 16-km stretch of highway that involves two 800-meter precast segmental bridges with three lands in each direction. “The project faces a lot of restrictions due to the nearby archeological sites and need to keep the existing highway open,” says Craig Finley, Finley Engineering's founder and managing principal.

The Tallahassee, Fla., firm has been involved in projects in Israel since the 1990s, including bridges along the country’s Cross-Israel Highway.