Eilat Port heading for privatization

Port2port News Service 
Dec 13, 2010 
Ministerial privatization committee authorized the Government to privatize the port of Eilat. This is the first step in a government long term plan to privatize Israel's maritime ports
An interministerial commission for the privatization unanimously approved last week a proposal submitted by the Minister of Transportation, Yisrael Katz, and Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, to privatize the port of Eilat.
The committee, chaired by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, decided to endorse the sale of government shares in the port to a single or group private investors from Israel or abroad. The committee, authorized the Government Companies Authority to begin the privatization process of Israel's third largest port. 
The Port of Eilat is the only Israeli port on the Red Sea, located at the northen tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. It has significant economic and strategic importance.
The proposed sale of the Eilat Port is one of the first steps in a government long term plan to privatize Israel's maritime ports, which includes full privatization of the Eilat Port and privatization of 15% of the Haifa and Ashdod ports.
The privatization of the Eilat Port was intended to improve the port's operations and logistics by a private party experienced in port operations. This decision follows the cabinet decision from 2005 to reform the ports. 
The ports reform includes selling the operating rights at the ports for 15 years, with an option to extend the operating rights for additional 10 years.
The Government Companies Authority has not yet decided whether to sell the Eilat Port as is, or to create a special purpose company.
The Eilat Port handles 6% of Israel's marine cargo. Its main cargo last year was the import of 120,000 motor vehicles imported from the Far East, which accounted for 60% of the port's activity, and the export of over 2.0 million tons of potash and phosphates. Eilat Port posted a net profit of NIS 20 million on NIS 100 million revenue in 2009