Dubai’s DP World has pulled out of a joint bid with an Israeli company to privatise Israel’s Haifa port, turning down one of the largest trade and economic ventures since the United Arab Emirates normalised ties with Tel Aviv.
The state-owned logistics firm did not say why it pulled out of the bid.
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“Although we have decided not to participate further in the privatisation of the Port of Haifa, we remain interested in investing in Israel as a key trade hub,” it said in a statement.
Israel’s Government Companies Authority confirmed DP World had requested to end its participation and that Israel Shipyards Industries had asked to continue on its own.
A winner in the Haifa port tender is expected to be announced before the end of 2021.
The joint bid was announced after Israel and the UAE agreed to establish formal relations last year, under an agreement brokered by former US President Donald Trump.
When the partnership was announced in September 2020, the two companies had said they would examine opening a direct shipping line between the countries
Israel is selling its state-owned ports and building new private docks to encourage competition and lower costs.
Haifa port will need to be upgraded to compete with a modern one being built in the area by China’s Shanghai International Port Group.