The Israeli port of Ashkelon and its oil terminal (located just over 10 kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip) have been closed as a result of the conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, according to maritime and commercial sources. Meanwhile, the ports of Haifa and Ashdod remain open. For its part, the Israeli state-owned Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC), which operates a major terminal in Ashkelon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters reported.
Fragility of new commercial corridors
The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), championed by Washington last month on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi and described as a western rival to China´s Belt and Road, had a lot to prove from everyone. However, the emergence of conflict in Isarel puts on hold any grand financial vision involving the neighborhood.
IMEC´s main promoters were full of praise for the potential of the trade route, which includes railways, ports and green energy. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, called it "big business", while the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, boasted of a "green and digital bridge between continents and civilizations." For his part, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described IMEC as "the basis of global trade for hundreds of years."
The IMEC offers enormous potential, among other things because it would reduce shipping times by up to 40%. The demand is there: India´s total trade with Saudi Arabia has more than doubled in two years, reaching about $53 billion in fiscal 2023. But the real prize for New Delhi would be forging a stronger relationship with Europe, its third business partner.
Ties between India and the Gulf have strengthened considerably, but the corridor requires a reliable link between Saudi Arabia and Israel before goods can be sent to Europe from the port of Haifa, acquired this year by the Indian group Adani.
News and image obtained: "Mundo Marítimo"
The vessel, which will be the first of its kind to be propelled with this fuel, will be delivered in 2026.