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Ports in Israel and New Orleans Establish ‘Innovation Embassy’

Steel being worked at Port NOLA tenant Coastal Cargo in late 2021.

Posted on March 1, 2023

Representatives from the Port of Ashdod, located south of Tel Aviv, Israel, and leaders from five Greater New Orleans business organizations have signed a letter of intent to create an innovation embassy. The program was born out of a trade mission to Israel by representatives from New Orleans earlier this year, and will focus on nurturing startup technologies from both locations for modernizing the operations for the trade and logistics industry sector.

“This partnership capitalizes on legacy industries that have driven each of these economies for centuries, while leaning into the growth opportunities that emerging technologies can create for the future,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. in a press release. “The participating Israeli and Louisiana startups will have a unique opportunity to work with global leaders in port operations, while being exposed to growth best practices from their counterparts and entrepreneurship ecosystem leadership. This collaboration is a direct result of the visit to Israel last summer, and demonstrates the value in exploring locations that pose mutual economic benefit for each other.”

The ports will focus on knowledge sharing, joint business development and potential development of dual infrastructure.

One such project includes the Ashdod Port Accelerator Program, which will incorporate technology into its partnership with the New Orleans coalition through an “innovation embassy.” This program will focus on Louisiana maritime growth, support for early-stage entrepreneurs and maximizing efficiency on the lower Mississippi River.

“The Port of New Orleans welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Port of Ashdod and our greater New Orleans area economic development partners,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA president and CEO. “We share common goals in maintaining and building state-of-the-art infrastructure, continuing to innovate diverse supply chain solutions, and advancing technologies to strengthen our positions as vital gateways to international commerce.”

This partnership was forged during a 2022 trade mission to Israel hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, which featured multi-sector exposure for participating companies from Louisiana. This trip offered knowledge sharing in several targeted industries, presenting participants with new potential business relationships in a new global market.

“Louisiana has a rich history of being a logistics leader and continues to offer unparalleled infrastructure for international trade,” said Harrison Crabtree, director of the World Trade Center New Orleans. “The partnership with the Port of Ashdod ensures that Louisiana will remain competitive on the global stage, fostering a robust international trade community that supports our state’s status as the ‘gateway to North America.’”

“The Ashdod Port Company continues to act vigorously to expand collaborations on innovation with the world’s leading ports,” said Orna Hozman Bechor, chairlady of the board of directors of the Ashdod Port. “The Israeli innovation that we foster in our technology incubators has a great deal to offer in a variety of fields that will make the world of shipping and ports more efficient, commencing with the field of logistics and transportation and up to and including control systems and green energy. Expanding the activity of the startups to leading ports around the world is an important milestone for reinforcing the international, technological, and economic connections of the startups and their ventures, as well as of the Port of Ashdod and the entire State of Israel as the startup nation. As Israel’s national port, we are proud to nurture the spread of Israeli innovation overseas.”


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