A large delegation of businessmen from Jenin recently toured the Port of Haifa and met with Port officials to discuss the possibilities open to both sides.
According to Port's officials, Haifa Port, which was for many years not closely involved in goods to/from the Palestinian Authority, is fast becoming a promising and popular alternative with many shipments now passing through its gates every day.
The officials mentioned that the most significant reason for this momentum is the major expansion of the Gilboa\Jalameh border crossing, which is just 40 minutes drive from the port, and the use of advanced technologies (including a facility for the x-ray examination of containers), which made it the fastest and safest way of delivering goods to the Palestinian Authority.
The group visiting Haifa consisted of 14 leading businessmen from the Jenin area who were joined by Hanni Alfar, the CEO of the Nazareth and the North Chamber of Commerce and the recently elected President, Mr. Salach Omar.
Also taking part in the meeting were Anat Kaufmann and Dov Tzadaka from the ECF Foundation whose activities are associated with USAID.
The delegation was hosted by the CEO of the Haifa Port Company, Mr. Mendy Zaltzman, the VP of Marketing, Eyal Dunski, the Head of the Container Division, Yoav Margalit, Yifat Golan from the Marketing Division and Mansur Maher.
Also taking part in the meeting were a number of customs officials, led by Kobi Yahav, Head of the Haifa Customs Office, who play an essential and critical role in the shipment of Palestinian goods.
During their visit to Haifa Port, the Palestinian businessmen were promised that everything possible would be done to ensure that all agencies involved with Palestinian goods would continue to improve their services. A similar commitment was made by the Port's CEO and its marketing and operational teams.
Some of the Palestinian businessmen who already work with Haifa Port paid compliment to the warm relationship they have with the Port and its employees. They went on to say that it was personal relationships, more than anything else that was responsible for the rise in trade to and from Jenin. The Authority's businessmen expressed their appreciation and satisfaction with the treatment their goods receive at the Port.
After the meeting, Hanni Alfar, the CEO of the Nazareth and the North Chamber of Commerce stated: "I want to express my deep appreciation for this comprehensive and informative meeting that you arranged for the delegation of businessmen and importer's from Jenin. The hospitality was amazing, the atmosphere warm and friendly and it demonstrates the determination of Port and those running it, and especially its CEO and my friend, Mendy, to do all it can to encourage our guests for use Haifa Port for long term shipping solutions as it is, in everybody's opinion, by far preferable to the use of Ashdod Port. The feedback I've received from Palestinians in Jenin has been very favorable. The especially commented on the warm reception and hospitality they were shown and were very enthusiastic with regard to their businesses working with the Port. I believe that the Nazareth and Arab Sector Chamber of Commerce and especially the President, board members and officials are also interested in forging close ties with the |Port in order to promote businesses and assist all those involved in imports".
Eyal Dunski, the Deputy CEO for Marketing: "Haifa Port places great importance on strengthening business ties with importers from the Palestinian Authority. To achieve this, we are making a great effort to identify and evaluate the special needs of these importers in order that we can provide unique and specialized solutions. The improved relationship can be seen in the direct meetings between senior representatives of the importers and Haifa Port's management, just as we saw in this meeting. I am convinced that by getting to know each other, by understanding the needs and providing efficient solutions and the highest possible standards of service, the levels of activity and cooperation between the Port and importers from the Palestinian Authority will not only be maintained but will increase".