The growing economic alliance between Israel and China is moving forward with a $2 billion, 300 kilometer freight rail link connecting Eilat, on the Red Sea, with Ashdod Port, on the Mediterranean, Germany’s Deutsche Welle news magazine reported on Monday.
The project, nicknamed the ‘Red-Med,’ was greenlit by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, and construction, which is expected to take five years, will begin within the year.
About the link, Netanyahu said, “It’s the first time we’d be able to assist the countries in Europe and Asia to make sure they always have an open connection between Europe and Asia and between Asia and Europe.” For Netanyahu, the rail link also has a civilian use, doubling as a line for a two-hour passenger ride between Tel Aviv and Eilat, DW said.
“It shows the Chinese government, Chinese companies believe that Israel holds a significant potential for business cooperation and that they believe the trade relation with Israel is not only between China and Israel but between Israel and other countries – it’s going to develop,” Maor said.
The rail link will both increase access to goods for Africa, where China is the continent’s biggest partner, with trade worth $120 billion, while also providing an alternative shipping route to the Suez Canal, controlled by Egypt.
“Those who use the canal may find the alternative of train and using the Red Sea cheaper. You see there’s demurrage on the Suez – congestion charges. We pay for waiting in line,” Oded Eran, a retired Israeli diplomat now at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, told DW.
Full article: Israel-China Alliance Moves Forward With $2 Billion ‘Red-Med’ Freight Rail Link Alternative to Suez Canal (The Algemeiner)