TEL AVIV (Oct. 8)
The American President Lines of San Francisco, a major American shipping company, is about to inaugurate container service from the U.S. to the Far East via the Suez Canal which will include calls at the Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod in both directions, shipping circles reported in Haifa today. According to the circles, the company is waiting for the first Israeli cargoes to pass through the Suez Canal before putting its schedule into effect.
Representatives of the line visited Israel recently to appoint local agents. They also met with port authorities and with officials of the Zim Lines, Israel’s national shipping company. The new service would add another major line to the roster of shipping companies serving Israeli ports and would constitute a political benefit arising from the recently signed Sinai accord with Egypt.
But Zim Lines circles have expressed fear that the APL would become a serious competitor, inasmuch as it would be carrying Israeli cargoes through the Suez Canal while Zim ships, flying the Israeli flag, would have to have their cargoes transshipped overland between the Mediterranean and Eilat. The new American service may also contribute to the decline of the port of Eilat which has suffered a drop in business since the Suez Canal was reopened last June.
The American President Lines, founded in the 1920s as the Dollar Steamship Lines, has been serving Egyptian ports for more than 50 years on a west-about round-the-world service but never called at Israeli ports.