Tangier (Morocco), Nov 16 (EFE) .- The Moroccan port of Tanger Med, the first in Africa and the fourth in the Mediterranean in terms of traffic volume, is celebrating its tenth anniversary today with a capacity of maximum of 3 million containers per year and a clear African vocation.
This mega project, installed in the north of Morocco, south of the Strait of Gibraltar -second global point of maritime movement-, aims to triple its capacity to 9 million containers in the coming years, after opening within a year and a half of a second extension, which will take the name of Tanger Med 2.
"In ten years of activity, Tanger Med has become a gateway in logistics to Africa and has become an export base international, "said Mehdi Tazi, CEO of Tanger Med at a ceremony held today at the port facility headquarters.
The Moroccan official stressed that his country is now the best connected with Africa because 40% of port traffic is done with 37 ports on the continent.
Tazi added that this project has managed to transform the economy of the entire northern region of the country, because it has managed to attract to the region large international firms such as Renault (the largest factory in the African continent) or the sports firm Décathlon, for example.
Inaugurated in 2007 after works that lasted four years, Tanger Med has been extending its facilities to now have three terminals, one of them dedicated to passenger transport.
In ten years, the Tanger Med 1 port has already reached its maximum capacity of three million containers per year.
Tanger Med 1 has several terminals, one of them managed by Eurogate that rents space to some 14 companies, and another managed by APM Terminals, the Danish mega-company that also manages a terminal in the port of Algeciras, only fifteen kilometers distant, on the north shore of the strait.
In both terminals are visible material and latest generation cranes capable of dealing with large ships.
Al Muraykh, one of the world's largest ships, with a capacity of 18,000 containers and 400 meters long, is docked in the port of Tangier Med.
Those responsible for the port facility are now betting on these large shipping companies, which offer as a particular advantage that the port has prepared its facilities for offer a depth of up to 18 meters under water, which allows the docking of these large vessels.
"Our goal is to achieve the 9 million containers with the construction of the second port, this will classify us among the first 20 most important ports in the world, "Rachid Huwari, director of the Tangier Med I port, explained to Efe.
In addition, the port has an optimal transit capacity of 7 million passengers and 700,000 TIR trucks, and the export of 1 million vehicles per year.
On competition with the neighbor Algeciras port, Mehdi Tazi downplays it and ensures that they "do not steal from anyone", but capture a growing merchandise traffic in the strait.
In the same In this sense, the CEO of APM Terñinals, Hartmut Goeritz, explained that his company, which manages terminals in both Tangier Med and Algeciras, intends to "optimize and make concrete operations on both sides of the Strait. "
The port, which encompasses six zones of activity, generates 50 million tons annually in exports of all kinds (in containers or in bulk), which according to their managers are equivalent to a value of industrial exchanges of 64,000 million dirhams or 6,000 million euros.
The strategic location of the port has allowed its connection to 174 ports and 74 countries, and constitutes an industrial platform for 750 companies operating in different sectors, essentially automotive, textile and aeronautics.
With an area of 9 kilometers from end to end, the port facility has mobilized an investment of 8,000 million euros, divided into one half of investment public and the other half financed by private operators.