Israel opened a Chinese-operated shipping port in Haifa geared to increase competition and the country’s status as a trading nexus.

The 5.5 billion shekel ($1.7 billion) Bay Port at Haifa is being operated by Shanghai International Port Group and has the ability to accept larger cargo ships, reported Reuters.

A whopping 99 percent of goods enter and leave Israel by sea, it wrote, adding that expanded relations with Gulf states are opening new trade opportunities.

“We can leverage this opportunity not just for local prosperity, but for realizing opportunities and making a real contribution to our neighbors in the Middle East,” said Israeli Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, according to the report.

A new port in Ashdod—to be operated by the Swiss company, Terminal Investment Limited—is also scheduled to open by the end of the year.


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