Traffic on certain shipping lines serving Israel has fallen significantly since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, reported the Israeli daily Haaretz.
According to the newspaper, imports declined 40 percent on some shipping lines due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on the Palestinians. Statistics prepared by the Israel Shippers' Council indicate that the annual loss in income will exceed one billion shekels ($243 million).
The impact of the Palestinian uprising on shipping cargo was higher than initially forecasted. Originally it was believed that the Palestinians imported no more than 35,000 containers a year—out of the 450,000 reaching Israel throughout a normal calendar year. However, four months into the uprising it became clear that the Palestinians were in fact responsible for as many as 50,000-60,000 of the containers arriving.
Although a deep-water port is being constructed in Gaza, the Palestinian’s remain dependent on the Israel ports for most of their sea cargo. With the comprehensive economic blockade imposed since this latest round of violence erupted, cargo bound for the Palestinian territories is being held up and construction of the Gaza port is virtually suspended.
According to the Israeli shipping organization, the sharpest drop in imports is in loose freight, mainly involving construction materials. Reportedly, such loose freight imports have fallen by 70 percent.
Sea cargo from Mediterranean ports has absorbed the most severe impact. Shipments from Turkey are down 35 percent, from Spain 30 percent and from Italy 20-25 percent. These countries are traditionally major sources of construction materials. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )