Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



A high speed rail connection for new ports at Ashdod and Eilat



Israel will soon have new ports at Eilat on the Red Sea and Ashdod on the Mediterranean. To facilitate the transport of freight, a high speed railway line will connect the two seas.

photo Netivei Israel
photo Netivei Israel
ISRAEL. Trains on the Red-Med railway line will travel at 250 to 300kph, reducing journey time between Eilat and Ashdod by at least two hours. A connection to the south of the Dead Sea operating at a speed of 350kph will carry exports of phosphate and potassium, which are mined in the region. The ultra fast service will make Israel “a true land bridge between Europe and the Far East,” according to the National Roads Company of Israel Netivei Yisrael, which is responsible for the route and upgrading the rail link.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Finance, the cost of building the Red-Med line will be over 25 billion shekels (€6 billion), as some studies have suggested. At least 50 billion shekels (€11 billion) will be required, not including the link between the railway and the Port of Eilat.

Dov Frolhinger, Director of Operations at the Israel Ports Company, explains that: “Israeli ports currently have a much lower productivity than the average for Mediterranean countries and are unable to receive large vessels sailing along the major commercial routes.”

Egypt and Turkey benefit from this situation and take care of the majority of Israeli imports and exports. “Until now, the only land connection to Israeli ports has been by road, a slow and expensive means of transport. The new rail link will allow us to increase freight volumes and speed, reducing per unit transport costs.”

A new port at Ashdod with a rail connection to the Red Sea

photo CC-kellinahandbasket
photo CC-kellinahandbasket
"The new port at Ashdod will be operational by 2021 and will have road and rail connections,” says Dov Frolhinger. “We predict that 20% of goods destined for land transit will be transported from Ashdod by train.” The investment needed to build a railway connection to the new port is estimated at $500 million (€460 million).

By 2025, the small Port of Eilat will be completely relocated further inland thanks to the construction of a 5km-long channel port to the North East. The new port will include a large logistics zone and a rail link to the Mediterranean. “Goods will arrive directly into Eilat and any that are being sent on to the Mediterranean will be transported by train,” explains Dov Frolhinger.

The new Eilat channel port will include a 1.5km-long container quay, a 600m-long bulk goods quay and a 150m-long ro-ro quay. The railway line to the Port of Eilat will be under construction from 2015 until 2019.


Hélène Lesman, in JERUSALEM

Friday, April 24th 2015

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