Heightened activity at the Ashdod Port Co. since the conflict in the North has helped to push through a new workers agreement that aims to boost the port's shipping container activity by 50 percent. "The main advantage, which stands behind the basic idea of the agreement is to create a link between reward and production," said Iris Stark, Chairman of the Ashdod Port board of directors. "No doubt, the increased recruitment of workers and management during the current emergency situation has created the will to sign the agreement. The workers' salaries will increase in accordance with output generated." Under the new workers agreement, the port's management has committed itself to increase the basic salary of the workers with the aim of providing an incentive for enlarging production at the shipping container platforms. As such, a one-hour premium will be awarded for the handling of every 12 containers within an hour and for the handling of more than 126 containers during a shift. The new agreement will commit the Ashdod Port to a cost of about NIS 500 million, but the management of the Port expects that the agreement will boost production by 50% and streamline operations, generating NIS 3.6m. The shipping container activity currently makes up 42.7% of the total activity of the Ashdod Port. Given limited activity in Haifa, the number of containers arriving at the Ashdod port between July 17 and 29 was 35% higher than the average volume of traffic during the first six months of the year, the company said, based on a calculation of annualized rates for the two periods. Nonstop labor on the part of the port's workers has allowed the facility to handle the increase in operations without creating delays and successfully rise to the occasion as Israel's primary trade artery, the company said.