Earlier Wednesday morning, Sheetrit was at the Port of Ashdod, attending a ceremony launching an association of Palestinian marine transport customers. The association was established with the aid of the United Nations Conference Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the European Union, and Paltrade, the Palestinian chamber of commerce. The Ashdod port company said it hoped the association would strengthen links between the port and the Gaza Strip, ahead of the expected increase in the flow of merchandise and cargo through the port. The increase is expected as international economic activity picks up in Gaza. While currently the volume of imports to Gaza passing through the port is estimated to be roughly NIS 50 million 5 percent of the port's total activity it was expected to double and triple in the course of the coming year, the company said. Roughly 50 Palestinian businessmen came to the port for the occasion, including the association's founder Muhammad Khadr.