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New commercial shipping service between France, Spain and Morocco

The French company CMA-CGM will put into service the transport of containers between France, Spain and Morocco with a stopover in Algeciras and Barcelona
REUTERS/NACHO DOCE - Contenedores de transporte en el puerto de Barcelona

REUTERS/NACHO DOCE  -   Transport containers in the port of Barcelona

The French shipping company CMA CGM made its debut in Morocco in 1983. Today, the company employs more than 1,000 people in the country. With a turnover of 56 billion dollars, the CMA CGM group plays a central role in the animation of world trade. It is currently present in 160 countries, including Morocco with a head office located in Casablanca. It has a fleet of 566 ships and serves 420 of the world's 521 active commercial ports. In total it has 31 maritime services serving the Moroccan ports of Agadir, Casablanca and Tangier Med.

This week it announced the creation of a new project linking Morocco, Spain and France, calling at the Spanish ports of Algeciras and Barcelona. The service, which will come into operation on 10 November this year, will be a sustainable maritime transport network between the ports of Agadir (Morocco) and Port Vendres (France) for the next fruit and vegetable season.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Vista de la ciudad de Agadir
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - View of the city of Agadir

One of the objectives promoted by this project is the reduction of CO2 emissions, which is expected to decrease by around 75% compared to the traditional route by lorry from Morocco.

The route that the Morocco Shuttle will follow will last between 12 and 14 days. The journey, which starts in Agadir and ends in Port Vendres, will take around 4 days. On the return journey, the ship will dock at the ports of Casablanca, Algeciras, Tangier, Barcelona and Port Vendres, before returning to Agadir. The Morocco Shuttle vessel will consist of two 1100 tonne capacity vessels flying the Moroccan flag and will be equipped with 220 refrigerators.

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Una vista general tomada el 5 de junio de 2015 muestra el puerto de contenedores de Tanger-Med en Ksar Sghir, cerca de la ciudad costera de Tánger, al noreste de Marruecos
AFP/FADEL SENNA - A general view taken on 5 June 2015 shows the container port of Tanger-Med in Ksar Sghir, near the coastal city of Tangier, northeastern Morocco

The brochure published with the press release specifies that this service will offer a "direct service from Gibraltar and Barcelona to serve Casablanca and Agadir" and represents "global connections through the hubs of Tangier Med and Algeciras". The port of Agadir is located 35 km south of Cape Ghir, and is connected by road to the cities of Essaouira and Marrakech. Although the port's activity was formerly centred on fishing, the commercial port complex has become very important in recent years.

Located just 14 kilometres from Europe, Morocco serves as a gateway between European countries and Africa, and the EU contains some of its most important trading partners. The company has pointed out that this service will also allow flexible and comprehensive solutions "from Perpignan and Saint Charles to serve the main European markets" and a "direct service from Gibraltar and Barcelona to serve Casablanca and Agadir". CMA CGM recalled that calls at the Tangier Med and Algeciras hubs "allow connection with any destination in the world".

AFP/ CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU -  Muelles de la terminal EuroFos en el puerto de Fos-Sur-Mer, en Marsella, sur de Francia
AFP/ CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU -  Piers of the EuroFos terminal at the port of Fos-Sur-Mer, in Marseille, southern France

In addition to the Advanced Status with the European Union, Morocco has FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) with the United States, Turkey, Canada and the GAFTA (Grain and Feed Trade Association) countries.

These factors, together with the control of the public deficit and inflation, make shipping to Morocco a highly relevant option for those who want to benefit from a country that imports more than 45 billion dollars worth of goods annually.