BMI is maintaining its throughput growth forecast for the Israeli port of Haifa in light of the most recent data release, meaning that the port is on course for a record year. We emphasise that this makes the expansion of Israel's Mediterranean facilities all the more pressing, and note that work on this is moving forward.
The port of Haifa has released data showing that in 2012 up to December 3 the facility handled 1.26mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), thereby exceeding the previous annual throughput record, set in 2010; 2011 saw a throughput drop of 2.2% in container volumes handled, in contrast to Israel's other major port, the Port of Ashdod, which enjoyed growth of 15.5% that year.
In light of this latest throughput release we are keeping our throughput growth forecast for the Port of Haifa as it stands; growth of 9.9%, which would see 1.36mn TEUs handled by year-end. At Ashdod we forecast growth of 4.7% to 1.23mn TEUs, meaning that Haifa remains safely in first position.
|Port of Haifa TEU Throughput|
Over our medium-term forecast period to 2017 we project that annual growth in box throughput at Haifa will average 3.7% per annum, rising to 1.54mn TEUs. The Israeli Ports Company believes that both facilities will have reached their handling capacity by 2018, highlighting the need for expansion. BMI wrote in October how both the major Mediterranean facilities were to get the increased capacity they so desperately need ( see our online service, 'Much Needed Investment In Container Terminals', October 12 2012). This is now moving ahead, and the Israel Ports Company has stated that the Israel Interior Ministry's National Planning and Building Committee has approved the invitation for public objections to the proposed works at Haifa, and that for Ashdod has been submitted.
The terminal expansions at the two ports will not only enable Ashdod and Haifa to handle more containers each year, necessary if growth continues at the projected rate, but also to handle larger vessels. This is becoming increasingly important as ships continue to get larger, especially on the Asia-Europe trade route on which they stand. At present the ports run the risk of losing business to Egypt's East Port Said, meaning that only feeder vessels would call at Israeli ports, thereby increasing costs to shippers.