The privatization of the Haifa Port was approved by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli on Wednesday.
The state's shares in the port - worth NIS 4.1 billion - will be sold to a group formed by Gadot Chemicals Tankers & Terminals Ltd and the Indian Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.
The privatization of the port was first decided on in 2003 as part of a reform plan for the country's sea ports. The plan aims to increase competition at the ports and improve their efficiency.
Officials welcome decision to approve the port deal
"I am happy that among my last steps in the Finance Ministry I signed and advanced another step towards the privatization of Haifa Port," said Liberman. "In the last year and a half, I led a policy of a freer and more competitive economy. The privatization of the port is great news for the citizens of Israel that will increase competition in the ports and thereby also lead to a lower cost of living."
"In the last year and a half, we led a series of brave moves that resulted in the solution of the holdup at the seaports, and today the operational queue is so small as to be non-existent," said Michaeli. "I am happy to leave behind a legacy of ports, of the state and two private ports that we put into full and successful operation, which work in a good, professional and business-like manner, for the benefit of the Israeli public and for the purpose of making Israel a significant regional center for maritime trade."
"As you know, I am not a big supporter of privatization, and the process of privatizing the port of Haifa began before I took office, however, I made sure that it would be done in the cleanest and most responsible way for the benefit of the economy and the entire Israeli economy," added Michaeli.
Eshel Armoni, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Haifa Port Company, welcomed the approval, stating "The completion of the privatization is a certificate of honor for the State of Israel, for the management and employees of the Port of Haifa and for the company's board of directors."
"When we set out we aimed to transfer the company to an international buyer with experience in operating ports, as it is prepared for the expected competition in the seaports in Israel. We met the task in full and at a price that reflects extraordinary confidence in the port's capabilities."