Israel is becoming a more popular hub for the transport of supplies throughout the Middle East. The number of trucks carrying food, machinery, medicine, and other materials crossing between Israel and Jordan has increased by 300 percent since 2011 to more than 10,000 trucks a year, reports the Israel Airports Authority.
Since a still-raging civil war engulfed Syria more than three years ago, exporters have needed to find new trade routes throughout the Middle East. Turkish exports in particular have begun to pass through Israel to Jordan and several other Arab nations. Those Turkish exports increased to more than 77,000 tons in 2013 from about 17,000 in 2010.
Israel plans to invest at least 6 billion shekels ($1.7 billion) to improve this growing transport, in particular via greater use of the Haifa port to move goods to Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East nations through the same route that had been used by the Ottoman and British empires before the Jewish state’s founding.
Although “a lot of secrecy still surrounds the topic and it is probably premature to speak of a blossoming and fast-growing trade route,” this transport of goods over the last few years is “almost unprecedented,” said Coline Schep, Middle East analyst with the consultancy firm Control Risks, according to Reuters.