'New era' as cargo ship from Dubai arrives in Israel

Eight containers filled with electronics, cleaning supplies and firefighting equipment unloaded in Haifa

TOPSHOT - (L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates arrived September 15, 2020 at the White House to sign historic accords normalizing ties between the Jewish and Arab states. / AFP / SAUL LOEB
Powered by automated translation

The ship-to-shore crane paused above the cargo ship just arrived from Dubai, then set its load down on the pier in Israel.

One after another, eight containers filled with electronics, cleaning supplies, iron and firefighting equipment were unloaded from the MSC Paris.

A few months ago, such a journey from Dubai's Jebel Ali to the port city of Haifa in northern Israel would have been unthinkable.

The countries announced an accord to normalise relations in August, which laid the ground for a new trade route.

The Abraham Accord was signed in a ceremony at the White House in September.

Israeli officials estimated that trade with the UAE could reach as much as $4 billion a year – and nearly all goods will have to travel by sea.

"This is a new era in the Middle East," said Eshel Armony, chairman of the board at Haifa Port.

"We're going to see this line once a week by MSC and, who knows, later on maybe we'll have even more. I hope that will happen quickly."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said trade with the UAE was the "beginning of something huge".

"Today a cargo ship came from Dubai. With goods. Goods that, by the way, are very cheap and will benefit Israelis," he told Parliament.

An MSC spokesman said that it was the first time containers from the UAE had been unloaded in Haifa on one of the company's ships.