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Morocco invests in port infrastructure
02/12/2014  -  in ANBA

Country bets on location as an attractive factor for international investors. The Tanger-Med Port, for example, is located only 14 kilometers from the European continent.

Tangiers – When pitching for international investors, Morocco is proud to promote one of the country’s main advantages for foreign trade: proximity to the European continent. Standing at the Tanger-Med Port, only 14 kilometers separate the Moroccan and Spanish territories.

With two great operating container terminals and three smaller ones for vehicles, passengers and hydrocarbons, the port is the gateway for Moroccan products to Europe and other African countries.

The port has an annual capacity for moving three million containers, but an expansion now underway will result in two new terminals, adding five million containers to the annual capacity, for a total of eight million. The first terminal to be completed should start operating in 2015.

The port’s first great terminal began functioning in 2007, and is managed by the company APM; whereas the second began in 2008 and is managed by the company Euro Gate. The concessions for managing these undertakings were granted in tenders, and give the companies control for over 30 years.

The Tanger-Med Port has connections with 127 ports in 57 countries, including eleven ports in Latin America, seven of which in Brazil: Itapoá, Navegantes, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Paranaguá, Rio Grande and Suape. Of all the containers moved at the port, 97% are for exports and 3% for the domestic market.

Abkari: port may be a transfer point for Brazilian products
For Hassan Abkari, director at the passenger port, Tanger-Med could offer advantages for Brazil in terms of agricultural exports. “Brazil is a country with a harvest cycle at a different period from ours. These two supplies could complement each other in the European market. Morocco could be an intermediary point for the containers that leave Brazil and go to Europe and Asia,” he stated to a group of Brazilian journalists visiting the place.

The vehicles terminal is divided in two parts, and one of them is dedicated singularly to transporting Renault cars, which established a plant in the country in 2011. Three hectares are for the exclusive use of the French carmaker. Another seven hectares are for the use of other brands that pass by the country.

Together, the two container terminals in operation cover an area of 40 hectares, with 800 meters of wharfs and 16 cranes. In the hydrocarbons terminal, stocking capacity is of 500,000 cubic meters of oil. According to Abkari, the port is also used as a refueling stop for ships.

The capacity of the passenger terminal is of seven million people per year, who arrive from Spain in great ferries and may reach the center of Tangiers by train, bus or taxi. The same terminal also receives trucks, and has a capacity of up to 700,000 per year.

New port

The company Tanger-Med, which gives it’s name to the port, and the National Port Agency have a project for the construction of a new container port in Morocco, in the city of Nador, just a few kilometers away from the border with Algeria. The idea for the project came up three years ago, but development has not started yet.

“It will be a port for containers and also to receive oil that comes from the Middle East and goes to Europe,” stated Abkari. According to him, it is a 7 billion dirham investment (US$ 847 million), for the first phase alone, including infrastructure, wharf construction and safety works. The invitations to bid for the construction work, according to him, should be starting soon.