Supply lines: Morocco Trumps Spain in Mediterranean Shipping Battle

In recent years, Spain has controlled freight traffic between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, but Morocco is now prospering and outshining its Spanish rival.

In recent years, Spain has controlled freight traffic between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, but Morocco is now prospering and outshining its Spanish rival.

Last year, Tanger Med dealt with nearly 5.8 million TEU (a unit for measuring cargo capacity), witnessing an increase of more than 20% over 2019; and therefore becoming the busiest container port in the region.
In the same period, freight traffic in Algeciras fell by 0.4%, equivalent to 5.1 million TEU.

According to Jordi Espen, policy manager at the European Shippers’ Council (ESC), what contributed to reinforcing the Moroccan port is the busy surrounding area, along with low-cost labour and a top-notch road transportation network.

In an interview, Espen said that Tanger Med was not considered a great competitor ten years ago, but has been expanding a lot during recent years hiring professionals with international expertise and adopting a very clear action plan.

Espen also highlighted the difference between the two countries’ policies explaining that Spain has stricter laws and must “negotiate with social agents”, especially when it comes to stowage (arrangement of containers on board a container vessel), while Tanger Med mainly adheres to custom legislation which are intended to help the port become more modern and more competitive.

It must be recalled that recent global trade trends linked to Covid-19 epidemic also play a role in the growth of the Moroccan port; as continuous e-commerce demands for Asian goods requires mobilization of large carriers necessitating infrastructure as modern as Tanger Med’s.

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