Sale of Israel's Haifa Port finalized for $1.15 billion

As another of Israel's ports is privatized, the tiny middle eastern state looks to further cement its position as a regional economic power.

 A general view of Haifa Port on July 24. (photo credit: ILAN ROSENBERG/REUTERS)
A general view of Haifa Port on July 24.
(photo credit: ILAN ROSENBERG/REUTERS)

A consortium headed by India’s Adani Group has finalized its purchase of Israel’s Haifa Port, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.

Reuters reports that the port, which is located in the coastal city of Haifa, was sold for a sum of NIS 4 billion, or just over 1.15 billion US dollars.

One of the new owners, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited, is owned by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani. Adani founded his namesake company and is listed as the third richest man in the world by Forbes Magazine. His net worth is estimated at $125 billion.

According to Adani, the company “is the largest commercial ports operator in India [and accounts] for nearly one-fourth of the cargo movement in the country.” The other new owner is Israel’s Gadot Group, a chemical company.

Previously, the Haifa Port was run by the Haifa Port Company, a governmental corporation that describes the port as “the largest, leading port in Israel.”

 Israeli and Indian national flags fly at Haifa Port, which is to be sold to India's Adani Ports and local partner Gadot, in Haifa, Israel July 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN) Israeli and Indian national flags fly at Haifa Port, which is to be sold to India's Adani Ports and local partner Gadot, in Haifa, Israel July 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

According to Reuters, the process of the sale of Haifa Port has spanned five years and indicates the fruition of nearly 20 years of Israeli efforts to bolster an underperforming sector.

The intention to sell the port was announced in July of last year by the previous government. At the time, i24 News quoted then-finance minister Avigdor Liberman as saying “the privatization of the port of Haifa will increase competition at the ports and lower the cost of living.”

Furthermore, according to a 2019 report by Haifa Port, roughly 98% of Israel’s trade with foreign countries goes through Israel’s maritime ports. Based on the report, more than half of that flows through Haifa Port.

The sale seems to continue a quickening trend of Israel selling its ports to private organizations. Last year, also in Haifa, China’s Shanghai International Port Group also opened a port.

The cementing of this latest sale occurred under new Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.