Just a decade after its entry into service, Tanger Med has already made a place for itself in the top five Mediterranean container ports. The Moroccan port is now working on the extension which should bring it into the world gotha
From zero to more than 3 million TEUs and some 50 million tonnes of goods, all traffic combined. In ten years, the port of Tanger Med has succeeded in its bet to become a stronghold of Mediterranean maritime trade.
Certainly, the “realization of a royal vision” announced by Mohamed VI in July 2002 was based on the ideal location of Tangier on the Strait of Gibraltar, where 100,000 ships pass each year and 20% of world trade, at the meeting point of the ‘Atlantic and Mediterranean and barely fifteen kilometers from Europe. But it required the creation from scratch and in record time of a deep-water port, the construction in particular of 9 km of dikes, 60 km of highways, 45 km of railways with their engineering structures and development of the various activity zones, the objectives having been raised along the way.
Not just a transshipment port
Because the initial project, which confined Tangier Med to a hub activity, has finally evolved into a more ambitious plan, the cornerstone of which was the creation of six free zones, between Tangier airport, Tetouan and the new port. .
These zones of zero customs duties and tax exemptions have been able to attract nearly 750 foreign industrial companies which produce in Morocco and export their finished or semi-finished products to nearby Europe, offering qualified jobs to Moroccans while supporting maritime traffic.
“The second phase will bring the port into a new dimension from 2019”
The important ro-ro activities (263,233 trailers in 2016) and passengers (2.76 million) gradually left the historic port for the new site from 2010. Hydrocarbon capacities have been developed and Tanger Med considers itself today hui as a real market port, the first in Morocco for exports. Of the 44.6 million tonnes recorded in 2016 (including 5.97 million of hydrocarbons), 30% thus directly served the national economy.
“If the port had been satisfied with the transhipment, it would not have generated more than 2,000 jobs”, estimates Rachid Houari, director of Tanger Med 1. Today, TMSA (Tanger Med Special Agency), the state-owned company that manages the port and its free zones, claims 65,000 jobs linked to the economic activities of its jurisdiction.
The terminals already saturated
Thanks to the involvement of the shipowners, the two container terminals of the first phase (Tanger Med 1) quickly took off. TC1 and TC2 reached saturation in 2014, just six years after their entry into service, and now exceed their nominal capacity by 1.3 million TEUs each.
These quays, which accumulate 1,600 linear meters, have been granted for thirty years to AP Møller Terminals Tanger and Eurogate Tanger. The first, jointly owned by the Moroccan Akwa, operates its terminal for the benefit of Maersk Line and its partners, while the second – a subsidiary of, among others, stevedores Contship Italia and China Merchant Holding and shipowners CMA CGM and MSC – is multi-user.
The container terminals “open 24 hours a day, every day of the year” are equipped with 16 super post-panamax gantries which display a rate of “35 movements per hour and per machine, for an average of 23 in Europe”, according to Rachid Houar