Business decreases by 85% at Israel’s Eilat port – Reuters

Cargo ships stand in the port of Eilat on the Red Sea (Israel)

Israel’s Eilat port has experienced an 85% decrease in business since Yemen’s Houthi militants launched a series of attacks on ships in the Red Sea, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing the cargo terminal’s chief executive, Gideon Golber.

The Iran-backed Shi’a insurgency, which controls parts of Yemen, said last month that it would target vessels heading to and from Israel via the Bab al-Mandeb Strait in response to Israel’s retributive military operation against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Eilat port is Israel’s sole cargo terminal on the Red Sea, and typically handles ships exporting potash and importing new vehicles.

Reuters quoted Golber as saying that, with the interruption of commercial traffic through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, the port’s main artery has effectively been severed.

The CEO told the news agency that the number of ships exporting potash to the Far East will decrease further, since they cannot travel in that direction. He added that if the situation persists, the port will soon cease to operate.

Earlier this week, the US announced that, in conjunction with a number of allies, it would be sending an armada to the Red Sea to defend the vitally important waterway.

Nonetheless, many companies, including Mosaic, have rerouted ships around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa in order to avoid the conflict zone, which has led to a substantial rise in journey times and shipping costs.

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