Israel sets up trial program to expedite PA export process

Palestinians in the West Bank mostly export agricultural goods such as olives, tomatoes and peppers, valued currently at around $50,000 a year.

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March 10, 2010 03:36
1 minute read.
ship imports exports [illustrative]

illustrative-ship imports exports 311aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria is set to launch a pilot program aimed at improving the shipping process through which goods manufactured by Palestinians in the West Bank are exported from Israel to Europe.

Palestinians in the West Bank mostly export agricultural goods such as olives, tomatoes and peppers, valued currently at around $50,000 a year. The effort to improve the export process aims to increase the value of exported goods to hundreds of thousands of dollars by the end of 2010, a civil administration officer said Tuesday.

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On Wednesday the civil administration, in coordination with the Israel Ports Authority, will hold a one-day seminar for 50 Palestinian importers and exporters from the West Bank at the Haifa Port.

“We believe that, with the right improvements to the system, it is possible to increase the exports to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” the officer said. “This would be a major boost for the Palestinian economy.”

Under the current system, the agricultural goods are loaded into Palestinian shipping containers at the package house in the West Bank and then driven to a nearby roadblock, where the produce is inspected and transferred to an Israeli truck. The Israeli truck then travels to the Ashdod or Haifa Port, where it is again inspected and loaded onto a new container.


“We want to speed up the process and have the produce loaded onto a single refrigerated container in the West Bank which is inspected once, as it enters Israel, and is then sent directly to the port and loaded onto the relevant ship,” the officer said.

To facilitate this goal the civil administration, in coordination with the Defense Ministry’s Crossings Directorate, recently installed a number of security scanners that can scan shipping containers at key checkpoints in the West Bank, such as the Gilboa Crossing in the Jordan Valley.



“The containers will be scanned at the crossing and if cleared will be sent directly to the port and loaded onto cargo ships,” the officer said. “This will eliminate the need for double handing of the produce.”

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