Port of Eilat

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Description:
The Port of Eilat is the only Israeli port on the Red Sea, located at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.

History

The Port of Eilat opened in 1957 and is today mainly used for trading with Far East countries. It allows Israeli shipping to reach the Indian Ocean without having to sail through the Suez Canal. Egyptian naval blockades of the Straits of Tiran which control access to Eilat featured prominently in the events which led to two major Arab-Israeli Wars: The Sinai War and the Six-Day War.

Ship traffic is comparatively low. One reason is that Eilat is situated at a considerable distance from the center of the country. Another is the fact that unlike Israel's other main seaports, Eilat's is yet to be served by a railway line (the nearest railhead is hundreds of kilometers to the north). Also, coastal tourism uses compete with any prospects of expanding the port's facilities.

Development plans

To solve these problems, the government has proposed the "Southern Gate" plan for the area. This proposal entails the construction of a massive combined air-rail-sea logistical center to be located in the desert north of the city. The details of this proposal include: relocating the current port to an excavated area north of the city, reachable by a 70m-wide, 7.5km-long canal built alongside alongside the Jordanian border from the Gulf of Aqaba, the construction of a new international airport within the vicinity, and the extension of the railway from the Nahal...
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