Malta-based Valmer Lines Shipping which launched a year and a half ago a trade calling at Ashdod, Haifa (Israel), Mersin (Turkey), Castellon (Spain), and Valencia (Spain) with 700 TEUs boxships "Helena Sibum" and "Aquarius J." announced its decision to cut its services to Israel.
Upon the commencement of its service, Valmer Lines Shipping targeted Israeli fruit and vegetables shippers. Explaining its decision the company said that the main reasons were unrest at Israel's ports due to government decision to build two new container terminals, end of Israel's reefer season, the low level of freight rates as well as mounting pressure for North Africa's governments to suspend Israel from the company's sailing schedule.
The two new ports are part of an Israeli plan to cut the government's role in the economy, give more influence to the private sector and bring down labor costs by confronting unions. Israel's main labor union objects to the new ports because the private companies would have no union obligations.