Port of Eilat
The Port of Eilat opened in 1957 and is today mainly used for trading with Far East countries. It allows Israeli shipping to reach the Indian Ocean without having to sail through the Suez Canal. Egyptian naval blockades of the Straits of Tiran which control access to Eilat featured prominently in the events which led to two major Arab-Israeli Conflicts: The Sinai War and the Six-Day War.
Ship traffic at Eilat is relatively low (compared to Israel's two large seaports on the Mediterranean). One reason is that Eilat is situated at a considerable distance from the center of the country. Another is the fact that unlike the country's other main seaports, Eilat's is yet to be served by a railway line (the nearest railhead is located hundreds of kilometers to the north). Also, coastal tourism uses compete with any prospects of expanding the port's facilities.
To alleviate the limitations imposed on the port's development, the government has proposed the "Southern Gateway" plan for the area. This proposal entails the construction of a massive combined air-rail-sea logistical center to be located in the desert north of the city. The details of this proposal include: relocating the current port to an excavated area north of the city, reachable by a 70m-wide, 7.5 km-long canal built alongside the Jordanian border from the Gulf of Aqaba, the construction of a new international airport within the vicinity, and the extension of the railway from the Nahal Zin railhead to the port and airport. International investors such as the South African Harris Group of Companies and Donald Trump have expressed interest in the project. The relocation of the port will free up a considerable amount of coastline on the gulf for redevelopment for tourism purposes and connection of the port to Israel Railways' network would ensure a significant increase in the amount of cargo traffic passing through the port.
In January 2012, the Minister of Transportation instructed the Israel Port Authority to begin a preliminary survey of the land to determine the optimal location of an excavated port north of Eilat.
Due to environmental concerns, the Eilat Port Authority spent millions to build a loader that prevents phosphate dust from dispersing into the sea.
- Sharon Kedmi (2006-04-23). "The Man who would Remodel Eilat". Haaretz. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- "בתוך חודש: הצעה לאישור הממשלה על הקמת קו רכבת מתל אביב לאילת" [Within a month: Proposal seeking approval of Tel-Aviv to Eilat railway] (Press release) (in Hebrew). Ministry of Transport and Road Safety (Israel). 9 January 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Barkat, Amiram (18 January 2012). "מתחילות העבודות להקמת נמל התעלה באילת" [Start of Works on Canal Port in Eilat]. Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- Zalul, Envirolink