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UAE's DP World, Israel Shipyards in talks for joint bid of Port of Haifa

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UAE-Israel peace deal signed Sept. 15

Two companies to assess setting up shipping route between Jebel Ali, Eilat

DP World operates Jebel Ali, Middle East's largest port

Dubai — The UAE's DP World, one of the world's biggest port operators, and Israel Shipyards said Sept. 16 they plan to set up a joint venture to bid for the Port of Haifa, a day after the two countries signed a peace agreement paving the way for diplomatic and commercial ties.

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"DP World and Israel Shipyards will collaborate to establish a joint venture that will participate in the tender for privatization of the Port of Haifa," Shlomi Fogel, a shareholder of Israel Shipyards and partner of Eilat Port, said in a DP World statement. The statement didn't specify how much it might cost to tender for the port in Israel.

DP World has signed memorandums of understanding with DoverTower, a company owned by Fogel, the co-owner of Israel Shipyards and Port of Eilat, it said in the statement.

"DP World will assess the development of Israeli ports and free zones and the potential establishment of a direct shipping route between Eilat and Jebel Ali," it said, adding that its unit Drydocks World "will explore business opportunities with Israel Shipyards on a joint venture for developing, manufacturing and marketing ISL products."

The UAE and Israel signed the peace agreement in Washington, alongside fellow Gulf country Bahrain, amid a push among Arab countries to normalize ties with the Jewish state. Before the signing of peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain, Israel had similar agreements with Jordan and Egypt, as well as with the Palestinians.

The Israeli government announced plans this year to privatize the Port of Haifa,which handled 1.4 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) and 17.3 million tons of cargo in 2019.

DP World operates Jebel Ali in Dubai, the largest port in the Middle East with an annual handling capacity of 22.4 million TEUs.