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Israeli ports impacted by Houthi strikes

Israeli port of Eilat.   -  
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The ongoing crisis in the Red Sea is having a profound impact on the southern Israeli port of Eilat, one of the country's most critical trade ports.

The port has experienced around 3 billion U.S. dollars in direct economic losses as its key import and export business has been brought largely to a halt by repeated long-range missiles being fired by Yemeni Houthi armed forces.

The Houthi attacks have targeted Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea.

"All the cargo that comes to Eilat through the Bab el Mandeb [Strait] from the Far East, it means [cargo from] China, Japan, (South) Korea, India is not coming because the ships are afraid to go through the Bab el Mandeb. So we don't have any ships anymore from December 1," said Gideon Golber, the CEO of the Eilat Port company.

Golber said that as things stand the port's operations can barelybe maintained from now until February and warned that if the Israeli government cannot address the issue, they will have to consider cutting jobs.

The port mainly deals with the import of automobiles and the export of potassium fertilizer to the Asia-Pacific region. 

According to authorities, nearly half of Israel's annual car imports in recent years have been completed through the port.

Car imports previously accounted for more than 75 percent of the total profits of the Port of Eilat and, prior to the Houthi attacks, there were around 50,000 new cars situated at the port.

The crisis also threatens Israel's two other international ports, with at least 30 percent of the imported goods from the Haifa and Ashdod ports required to pass through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to reach Israel.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, affected by the Palestine-Israel conflict and the tensions in the Red Sea, the number of imported cars at the Ashdod Port dropped by 94 percent. 

The transshipment scope of all Israeli seaports was significantly reduced by 70 percent.

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