The Eilat Port Company Ltd. is paying a dividend of NIS 34.7 million to the coffers of the state, and company managers say they are proud to belong to the first port to pay a share of its profits to the country, reports www.local.co.il. And company head Yair Hazan said that given the world economic crisis and the consequent reduction in global shipping activity, it was no simple matter to manage the port efficiently and profitably. According to the report, the NIS 34.7 million dividend was the result of profits accumulated at the port from 2005 to 2007. "We are proud to be the first port in Israel that has decided to transfer to the owners, the state of Israel, the portion they are owed from the profits of the port in the past three years," Hazan said. He added that even in the current economic climate, with widespread company contractions and firings, the port was continuing to add new employees to its workforce, which currently contains 111 workers. The report said the port reported NIS 116 million in earnings in 2007, and that in 2008 more than 143,000 vehicles entered Israel via the port, imported mostly from countries in east Asia.