U.S. Firms Interested in Israel Port After Passing Last Time

Three American firms are among companies to officially indicate interest in bidding for Israel’s largest seaport, following a push by the U.S. government.

U.S. officials hoping to put a chill on Chinese involvement in strategic infrastructure projects have been encouraging American firms to bid for the port in the northern city of Haifa, where state-run Shanghai International Port Group Co. won a contract to operate a separate facility in 2015. No U.S. companies bid on that 2015 project despite American efforts.

The U.S. companies that have expressed interest are SSA Marine, a Seattle-based terminal operator, Kentucky-based shipper GraeStone Logistics LLC, and Nashville-based Ceres Terminals, according to an Israeli official who requested anonymity to speak publicly.

As Bloomberg previously reported, GraeStone joined a consortium that included Turkish industrial conglomerate Yildirim Holding AS, cruise port operator Global Ports Holding Plc and Israeli businessman Eli Tilles. Dubai’s DP World and Israeli Shipyards Industries Ltd. also said earlier that they submitted a joint offer for the facility.

Other foreign companies that will move to the next round after Thursday’s deadline for expressions of interest include India’s Adani Group, and Euroports Holdings, according to the official, joining several local prospective bidders. No Chinese firms joined the list of more than a dozen parties.

SSA Marine, GraeStone, Ceres and Euroports didn’t reply to immediate requests for comment. Adani declined to comment. Thursday was the deadline for participants to submit their name before moving on to the next phases of the privatization process.

Israel’s government wants to sell the facility for as much as 2 billion shekels ($587 million).

“I’m happy to see the positive interest and that there’s a not insignificant number of strong groups competing,” Haifa Port’s chairman Eshel Armony said in a statement announcing submissions had been received.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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