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Israel’s Citrus Exports Blocked by Longshoremen’s Strike in Haifa

A longshoremen’s strike in Haifa and a threatened strike at the port of Ashdod is holding up Israel’s citrus exports at the peak of the season. The Haifa dock workers walked out in a long smouldering dispute with the Port Authority. Israel’s new Minister of Transport, former Air Force Gen. Ezer Weizman, was on the waterfront today to attempt to work out a solution.

At Ashdod, Israel’s newest port, longshoremen say they will strike for higher wages and premium payments. Meanwhile many ships are dropping anchor in Haifa Bay waiting for a loading berth. Several vessels held up at Haifa have steamed down to Ashdod in hope of loading a citrus cargo but without success. Thousands of cases of citrus fruits destined for European markets are piled high in warehouses at both ports and in danger of spoiling.