TEL AVIV (Dec. 20)
With Israel’s main ports paralyzed by strikes and work slowdowns, the business community, government representatives and the ports authorities agreed today to create a special fund to finance the shipment of Israeli import and export cargoes by air.
The move, taken in cooperation with the Finance Ministry, is intended to cut the severe losses incurred by the inability of ships to load or off load cargoes at Haifa and Ashdod. There is no end insight to the strike by longshoremen for higher wages and millions of dollars worth of perishables have rotted at the docks.
Shipowners, reluctant to send their vessels into ports where they may be forced to lie at anchor for weeks or months, have dumped Israel-bound cargoes at Larnaca in Cyprus and Pireaus in Greece. Exporters have sustained heavy losses because they are unable to ship citrus, vegetables and flowers to the European markets.