Date: 23/02/2024

New trade route announced bypassing the Red Sea and involving Mundra Port 

Israeli transport minister Miri Regev has announced an alternative route for trade bypassing the Red Sea, involving the Mundra Port in Gujarat as Israel-linked ships continue to come under attack in the Red Sea.  Under this, goods will move from Mundra to ports in the UAE, such as Dubai’s Jebel Ali, by sea, and then via land through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Israel. A major part of the land transport will be carried out on trucks. 
According to reports, these trucks will be operated by two companies based in Israel and UAE, respectively. This land route has been in the works for some time. It was first proposed at the time of the Abraham Accords (aimed at normalising ties between Israel and some Arab states) in 2020, the reports said.
The Minister posted a video on X standing at Mundra Port, in which she said: “We are now in the port of Mundra, the largest port in India in the north, from which goods come out… all these containers are exported to the UAE, and from the UAE by land to Israel. The war posed challenges before us, the biggest challenge being how do we bring goods to the State of Israel, as Israel is a coastal state and most goods arrive by sea….Cargo will depart from Mundra to ports via the sea, and then we will load it onto trucks or trains, through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to Israel,” Regev says in the video.
The land route will significantly cut travel time and costs for Israel and will generate revenue for Saudi Arabia and Jordan in terms of transport fees and duties. However, trucks can carry far fewer goods than a ship can, and to that extent, trade will be limited. Also, the route depends on Israel maintaining friendly ties with the two countries, in a rapidly fluctuating situation in the Middle East,as per the reports.
Importantly, a similar route might be used in the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) too. 
Source: Exim News Service: New Delhi/Mundra, Feb. 22