Haifa Port is expected to be the biggest revenue generator for Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone outside India in the years to come, a senior company official said.
In January, a consortium of Adani Ports and Israel’s Godot Group announced the completion of the acquisition of Haifa Port Company Ltd from the government of Israel. The consortium had won the competitive bid for privatising the port in July last year for $1.2 billion.
The official said the port was strategically located in the eastern-most harbour of the Mediterranean, a hub for economic activity. “There are future plans to connect the Middle East to the Mediterranean starting at UAE (United Arab Emirates) and concluding at Haifa via rail route, which will connect Saudi Arabia and Jordan on the rail corridor,” he said.
At present all ships sailing through the Mediterranean pass through the Suez Canal, pushing up prices. The modernisation of the port, along with railway connectivity, will reduce transit time by providing an alternative gateway to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Europe.
Along with the port modernisation, Adani Ports is also sprucing up the city side with hotels, convention centres, entertainment zones and shops. This is expected to boost tourism around that area. The company will be tying up with cruise operators and other partners for this development.
For the city-side development, the company will work with local municipal bodies for a master plan. An incubation centre will also be set up as a startup accelerator for the group.
The official, however, said that right now focus would be on brownfield projects with local partners. Any greenfield projects would be envisaged later once fully established.
Haifa Port handles around 20 million tonnes of cargo annually, according to its website. With this acquisition, Adani Ports total cargo handling capacity will go up to 500 million tonnes annually.
To finance the acquisition, the company had taken local debt of around $300 million, $475 million of mezzanine financing guaranteed by the company and the balance $340 million in equity, of which Adani Ports’ share is 70 per cent.