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Israel Has Second Largest Merchant Marine in Near East

Israel now has the second largest merchant marine in the New East, second only to Turkey, it was reported here today. The Israeli merchant fleet has 31 ships–from two to 40 years old–grossing 160,000 tons.

At present the Israel Government has four ships under contraction in German shipyards and has assigned the equivalent of $9,000,000 from German reparations to these ships. The ships will be resold to three Israeli shipping companies, More ships are expected to be built from German reparations.

Israel’s shipping now is the second highest foreign currency earner, second only to the citrus exports. It was the need to conserve foreign currency, coupled with the isolation of the country resulting from the Arab blockade, which forced Israel to expand its shipping industry.