July 11, 2019
Morocco continues to move forward and into the future. With the development of Tanger Med Port, Morocco is now on center stage of the international maritime scene as one of the best connected ports in the world. It has risen from the 83rd to the 17th rank worldwide, according to the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Tanger Med 2 started operations in June of this year and the traffic passing through it continues to show an upward trend. A further increase of 10% in connectivity is expected, which as of today, links Tanger Med with 186 ports in 77 countries. With ships reaching the port from the Middle East only in 9 days , from America in 10 days and from Asia in 20 days, there is no doubt that Tanger Med has become an international hub and a global logistics gateway.
Strategically located on the Strait of Gibraltar, barely 14 km away from the coast of Spain, Tanger Med has a capacity of 9 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers, which makes it the number-one-capacity port in Africa and the Mediterranean. The successful operation of Tanger Med will continue to reinforce the value of the strategic partnership Morocco holds with the EU, which can clearly be seen in the figures depicting the trade that goes on between the two.
The EU is Morocco’s largest trading partner, accounting for 59,4% of its trade in 2017; the North African country is the EU’s 22nd trading partner representing 1,0% of the EU’s total trade with the world. 64,6 % of Morocco’s exports went to the EU, while 56,5% of Morocco’s imports came from the EU. This close cooperation extends further to areas such as fisheries and agriculture, as well as development cooperation and security. The Port of Antwerp, for instance, offers training for Tanger Med employees in the many areas of port operations and logistics. Dozens of workers have improved their skills in the Belgian port.
As part of Tanger Med port complex, the Tanger Med Free Zone comprises an industrial hub of over 900 companies representing a yearly turnover in exports of more than 7,5 billion euros. Tanger Med’s impact on job creation has been, and will continue to be, immense. More than 75,000 jobs have been created thanks to the economic and industrial activity linked to Tanger Med. Workers at Tanger Med are able to develop their skills and advance in their careers, all of which has both a social and economic impact in the lives of many households.
The spillover effects of Tanger Med can also be seen in migration across the Mediterranean. A brighter future in Africa means a likely decrease in irregular migration towards Europe.
In September last year, the EU signed agreements with Morocco on Green Growth and Competitiveness, worth €150m and €9m, as well as €100m Social Protection program. The aid is meant to help create new jobs and give a push to innovation and start-ups, without forgetting the importance of social protection in the cities and countryside.
Morocco remains, and will continue to be, a key partner for the EU in the region. An example to other African countries which could look into best practices both in economic and social spheres, conducted by Rabat as they try to address the root causes of migration.Author : Mauricio Ruiz