The average waiting time for cargo ships in the Ashdod port jumped in the first quarter of 2007 by 40% compared to the same period in 2006, and reached 62.5 hours on average per ship
Reuven Zuck, the president of the Israel Chamber of Shipping, opened last week an all out war against the government claiming that "We are walking with our eyes wide open into a catastrophe, but this time no one can claim that they did not know. Everything will collapse."
The attack took place shortly after it was announced that the average waiting time for cargo ships in the Ashdod port jumped in the first quarter of 2007 by 40% compared to the same period in 2006, and reached 62.5 hours on average per ship. The waiting time for container vessels in Ashdod port was up 257%, and in Haifa port it went up to 194%.
The Manufacturers Association of Israel and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce have both claimed that the situation in Ashdod had caused direct damages to industry and trade estimated at NIS 110 million.
The government, according to Zuck, is well aware that the Ashdod port suffers from a shortage of manpower, poor working relations, faulty maintenance and acute shortage of equipment. The Haifa port lacks adequate infrastructure and also suffers from overloaded conditions due to the large number of ships it receives, which are diverted from Ashdod.
At the end of last week it was made public that Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. had cut traffic through Israeli ports after suffering tens of millions of shekels in losses since January because of long delays. If port conditions remains Zim will consider suspending the use of Ashdod Port and Haifa Port for its Asia Med Pacific service and serve Israel via Piraeus in Greece.