The Transport, National Infrastructure, and Road Safety Ministry, and the Finance Ministry have authorised the acquisition of 16 new diesel locomotives, expanding the freight locomotive fleet by 30%, and 162 refurbished second-hand wagons, which will allow Israel Railways (IR) to increase intermodal capacity by around 300 containers per day. IR has already invited expressions of interest for both contracts and tenders will be issued soon.

The acquisition of additional rolling stock will support investment in facilities. Terminals at Hadera West and Bnei-Brak will be expanded, while construction will begin in 2014 on a new classification yard at Ashdod and an intermodal terminal at Ashdod port. Work also began recently on a new terminal at Rotem Plain in southern Israel.

The government hopes these measures will help to boost rail's share of the inland container market from 8% to 25% by the end of the decade.

IR says it aims to increase freight revenues by 15% this year from $US 34m to $US 39.5m.