Israel Ports Development and Assets Co.
Chinese contender was the low bidder on a planned Haifa private port but could not win the job because it is building another big port in Ashdod.

An all-Israeli consortium has beaten out an Israel-Belgium team to build a new private port in the northern city of Haifa.

Shafir Civil and Marine Engineering Ltd. and Ashtrom Properties Ltd. won the Israel Ports Development and Assets Co. contract for the new port, beating out Israel’s Shikun U’Binui Holdings Ltd. and a unit of Belgium’s Jan De Nul group. The winning bid for the Haifa port project was $1.05 billion.

China Harbour Engineering Co. outbid both teams for the project. However, under the contract's procurement rules, the company could not win the Haifa job because, in August, it had been awarded an $880-million contract to build another private port in the southern city of Ashdod (that port began construction in early November). Thus, the Israel Ports Development and Assets Co. was forced to negotiate with both Israeli-led consortia to determine which could offer the lowest bid.

The two private ports are part of a government push for more export and import competition in Israel to reduce the cost of goods.

“The new port in Haifa should be up and running in six years and the Ashdod facility in seven,” said Shlomo Brieman, CEO of the Israel Ports Development and Assets Co.

The project involves extending the port’s main breakwater by 882 meters and building 2,100 meters of additional quays, with a maximum waterside depth of 17.3 m. 

The cargo port is designed to handle the new generation of triple-E container ships and bring the port’s total capacity up to 1.1 million TEU.

The Haifa port is to be built on reclaimed land; construction will involve substantial dredging. “The port will be operated by international companies and introduce competition designed to reduce the cost of living in Israel,” said Transport Minister Yisrael Katz.

Meanwhile, the Israel Ports Development and Assets Co. is in the process of selecting a global operator for each of the ports.

Four companies—TIL, Eurogate, ICTSI and Shanghai International Ports Group—have prequalified for the final tender.