Skip to main content

Israel opens Chinese-run terminal at Haifa port

Biden's CIA director raised concerns about Beijing's growing investment in Israel, according to a report.
This picture shows containers and cranes on a dock of Haifa port, Israel, June 24, 2021.

Israel opened a new terminal run by a Chinese firm at the port of Haifa on Thursday, in a move expected to boost Israel’s economy and open new opportunities for trade with Gulf countries.

The inauguration comes as Israel seeks to increase the flow of goods into its ports and increase competition by lowering prices. Israel relies on its ports — chief among them Haifa — for some 90% of the country’s goods.

The 5.5 billion Israeli shekel ($1.7 billion) terminal is to be managed by China’s state-owned Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).

The 25-year management agreement raised security concerns in Washington. The US Navy frequently makes stops at Haifa, while the Israeli navy also maintains its largest base adjacent to the port.

CIA Director Bill Burns raised concerns over Chinese investment in Israel during a meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Israel last month, Axios reported.

Chinese infrastructure investment in Israel developed into an increasingly uncomfortable subject between the two allies during the Donald Trump administration.

The Trump administration pushed Israeli counterparts to avoid further encroachment by Chinese companies, particularly in telecommunications, and warned that deeper Chinese involvement could hurt US-Israel security ties.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government continued to develop infrastructure partnerships while offering assurances on limits of the reach of Chinese firms.

Burns’ discussion with Bennett last month marked the highest-level talks between the two new governments on the subject so far.

In February, Haaretz reported that Israeli officials had last year rejected a US request to inspect the port for Chinese surveillance material.

A US Navy spokesperson told Al-Monitor at the time that there was no change to routine military operations with Israel. “Our partnership with Israel remains steadfast,” Cmdr. Kyle Raines, of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, wrote via email.

That response came after the Navy warned it may have to change its operations at Haifa due to potential security risks.

Israel’s port of Ashdod is also undergoing major construction under the direction of state-owned China Harbor Engineering Company. It will be managed by the Switzerland-based Terminal Investment Limited.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial