|A small part of the massive port|
As The View from Fez has reported before, the construction of Africa's largest port is underway. The importance of the The Tangier-Mediterranean Project can not be stressed enough. In particular it will enhance the economic and social development of the North Morocco region. Recently we visited the project and can report it is well on the way towards completion.
The situation of the port
It is part of the economic policy orienting Morocco towards exports, based on eight clearly identified export sectors, with particular emphasis on the free trade agreement with the European Union to be implemented by 2012.
Not only does the construction phase, which is now well underway, have an economic impact in the form of job creation, it will also have implications for foreign investment. Its location on the Straits of Gibraltar, at the crossing of two major maritime routes, and 15km from the European Union will enable it to serve a market of hundreds of millions of consumers through the industrial and commercial free zones which will be run by well-known private operators. It will also win part of the strong growth market of container transport and become the leading hub for cereal transshipment, a facility which is non-existent in the north-west African region at present.
Containers being processed
The project is being implemented, coordinated and managed by TMSA, a private company with public prerogatives, operating under an agreement with the State and interacting with the different ministries involved.
A draft loan contract of $180 mln to fund the expansion works of Tanger-Med port was signed in October 2008 for building a second deepwater port, dubbed "Tangier Med II", to meet the growing demand for container facilities at the international level in sea transport. The new port facilities, scheduled to be operational by the second half of 2012, will include two new container terminals with a total length of 2,800 m and an additional nominal capacity of 5 million containers. Final official approval for "Tangier Med II" was received on 7 January 2009, with actual construction started on 17 June 2009.
One of the largest container ships in the world, the Eugen Maersk, at Tanger-Med I
The scope of the project is impressive. The port is expected to reach full capacity by 2015, and to operate 8 million containers, 7 million passengers, 700,000 trucks, 2 million vehicles, and 10 million MT of oil products.