Newly opened Tanger Med now biggest capacity box port in Africa
MOROCCO unveiled a big extension to its Tanger Med port in Tangier at the end of June, signalling its intention to overtake European rivals, reports Paris-based Jeune Afrique
MOROCCO unveiled a big extension to its Tanger Med port in Tangier at the end of June, signalling its intention to overtake European rivals, reports Paris-based Jeune Afrique.
Tanger Med handled 52 million tonnes of goods last year. On June 28, the port opened two new container terminals, hoping to be among the top 20 ports in the world.
Tanger Med 2 triples the port's capacity from three million to nine million TEU, which would make it Africa's leading container port, surpassing Port Said and Durban.
The expansion project required EUR1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) in investment. The Tanger Med Special Agency (TMSA) plans to allocate a further EUR28 million to extend the passenger and ro-ro terminals.
Central port director Rachid Houari, who joined the Tanger Med Port Authority (TMPA), a subsidiary of the TMSA, in 2005, said: 'We had to seize traffic opportunities as soon as possible, otherwise others could have taken them.'
He said the container business had reached a saturation point. 'Last year, volumes handled totalled 3.4 million TEU, exceeding our capacity by 15 per cent. Thanks to Tanger Med 2, we have the largest capacity in the Mediterranean region for container activity. We're ahead of Spanish, French, Italian and Greek ports.
In Tanger Med 2, operators can allocate up to eight cranes for loading or unloading a ship. In addition, the entire Tanger Med 2 basin is 18 metres deep. Previously, only part of the port complex reached this depth.
'This allows us to accommodate the world's largest ships (400 metres long, with a capacity of 22,000 TEU). The port can hold seven vessels at a time. This is not possible anywhere else in the Mediterranean,' said Mr Houari.
Tanger Med 1's operators, APM Terminals and Eurogate, have invested EUR150 million each. Maersk's, APM Terminals also manages TC4, a container terminal at Tanger Med 2, where it's invested EUR900 million.