Historic First Cargo from UAE Arrives in Israel on MSC Containership

first container cargo from UAE arrives in Israel
File photo of a MSC container ship courtesy of MSC Shipping

Published Oct 12, 2020 4:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

The containership MSC Paris arrived in the port of Haifa in Israel carrying the first-ever cargo transported directly between the United Arab Emirates and the Jewish state. Arriving just two months after the historic peace deal was announced between the two countries, it also marks the beginning of weekly service coming from Dubai to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the arrival of the ship history making. He sent out a Tweet saying, “For the first time, a cargo ship from the United Arab Emirates has now entered the port of Haifa. A new trade route opens between the United Arab Emirates and Israel!” News of the arrival of the cargo in the port came just hours before his cabinet voted to approve the peace deal ahead of a debate and vote expected later in the week in the Israeli Knesset.



It is not the first time an MSC ship visited the port, but a spokesperson for the carrier confirmed to the Jerusalem Post that it was the first time that imported containers had traveled directly between the ports of Abu Dhabi and Jabal Ali to Haifa. The MSC Paris, which sails on the route between India and the Mediterranean, was carrying a total of eight containers that were offloaded in Haifa. Among the goods said to be in the containers were electronics, cleaning supplies, firefighting equipment, and iron.

The start of service is part of what Israeli officials have said could be a significant boost to the economy. Estimates are that the bilateral trade could total near $4 billion annually and it is expected to primarily travel by ship to Israel. Haifa port officials noted that while MSC is the first line to offer the service they are hopeful that other carriers will follow.

The arrival of the containers in Israel is just the latest benefit for the shipping industry since the announcement of the peace agreement. DP World and Dubai Customs announced a month ago that they had signed deals to begin exploring building trade with Israel. DP World is also expected to participate in a joint bid for the privatization of terminal operations in the port of Haifa and separately entered into a cooperation agreement with the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.