UfM: What are the key points of the strategy relating to the infrastructure and the transport in Morocco?
Mr. Aziz Rebbah (AR): The development of basis infrastructure is one of the key levers for higher growth and economic development in Morocco. In fact, all the commercial and touristic activities of Morocco will benefit from improved transport, compliant with the best international standards.
To this effect, the government is committed to vast programs in order to develop transport infrastructure and reducing travel time by giving an answer to the expectation of users.
Therefore and towards providing an answer adapted to the needs of the users and in anticipation of the future of different economic operators in infrastructure and in means of transport, the government is involved in ample infrastructure development of Transport programs to facilitate the different modes of displacement and hence support the economic growth of this country and of its ambition to be integrated into the global economy.
Moreover, the government involvement through the Ministry of Equipment and Transport aims to build a modern transport infrastructure, facilitating the local regional and international exchange and assuring the fluidity, comfort and security of displacement of goods and people.
This way, and in relation to infrastructure, various directive schemes in the horizon of 2030-2035 are defined and translated into development programs within land, railway, port, airport sectors, realized within a voluntary strategy of reinforcement and modernization of big infrastructure network allowing Morocco to be a major hub of north-south commercial exchange between Africa and Europe and east-west exchange, specially between Mediterranean countries.
Within this framework, Morocco has realized important infrastructure projects aiming at regional integration, as for example, the Mediterranean road that connects the entire Mediterranean coast between Saidia and Tangier; the Atlantic motorway axis that connects Southern Spain to Tangier and Agadir through Marrakech; and the Maghreb axis that connects Casablanca to Oujda and further to the Algerian frontier over 22 Km, under study (labeled UfM project), the launching of work on the first stage of the master plan for the High-Speed railway lines (Atlantic axis) between Tangier and Casablanca, the port of Tanger-Med (1 and 2), the coming launching of construction work of the port complex of Nador West Med as well as turning the Mohammed V Airport of Casablanca into the international hub in the south of the Mediterranean.
Additionally, the Ministry of Equipment and Transport has engaged in important organizational and institutional reforms of the transport sector, and notably:
- The privatization of road transport of goods aimed to put in place an economically-efficient transport system assuring its functioning within the best quality, security and cost conditions;
- The reform of the passenger transport through the privatization of this sector and the exchange of an agreement system for a concurrence call, on the basis of a specification and the encouragement of investment in professional and competitive transport companies;
- The reform of the railway sector through the separation of regulation jobs, realization of infrastructure, and the exploitation of the sector and the rail carrier services;
- The recognition of the maritime sector through the creation of a national agency for maritime regulation and a national society of maritime exploitation in concurrence with private operators in order to boost the Moroccan economy with an efficient tool which can respond to the ambition and the vocation of the country in terms of economic development for the European and Mediterranean markets;
- A new development strategy for the maritime trade sector guaranteeing the transport of goods and people in the best cost, security and quality conditions, which consolidate the efforts initiated by the Ministry on the privatization of this sector and its openness to private investment;
- The privatization of the air transport sector through the signing of the Open Sky Accord with the European Union to permit the development of airway lines and to assure the best connection between Morocco and Europe. Besides, the air transport sector has been -strengthened by the creation of a specialized national company within the domestic transport to assure the continuation of international traffic into different regions of the Kingdom in addition to satisfying the local needs for airway transport. In addition to this liberalization and in order to guarantee a regulatory convergence with the EU in issues of civil aviation and security of airway travel, a new national code of civil aviation has been prepared.;
- Moreover, Morocco has defined and implemented an ambitious strategy for developing logistic activities integrating all the transport modes (road, railway, maritime and airway). Within this context, a national network of logistic zones (3300 hectares of which 2080 for the medium term) through all the Kingdom is developing with the aim to develop intermodality and to bring up specialized operators as well as national and international ones that offer competitive services. A training plan is put in place to accompany the implementation of this strategy.
In parallel to the development of the infrastructure and to the implementation of the institutional reforms, the Ministry is responsible for ensuring a better coherence of actions of different actors through putting in place an institutional and regulatory framework conducive to development and competitiveness of this sector. Within this framework, some bills are in process of realization, aiming at the restructuring of the regulation, which are in coordination with the new Moroccan constitution and the alignment with the EU criteria.
Besides, the Minister targets the development of expertise and training in the land, railway, maritime and airway transport sector, satisfying the needs of the local market and opened to the countries of the region, notably in the South of the Mediterranean.
In the same way, the Ministry contributes to the national strategy which has as objective the conversion of Morocco into a regional platform in the industry and notably the one related to the transport sector by the development of industries of outsourcing and maintenance in the domains of aeronautics, railway material and maritime shipyards, etc.
Also, a great effort is undertaken for valorization of the public domain relevant to the Ministry with the development of infrastructure and its availability within the public-private partnerships. That is why Morocco is firmly engaged in this approach of win-win partnership with the private sector for the realization of infrastructure and the operation of good-quality and safe services which allow the satisfaction of the growing needs of the population and the economic operators.
Within this framework, a bill about the PPP is actually in process of finalization and shall allow providing an adequate answer to balanced partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Finally, the efforts undertaken by Morocco start to yield very satisfactory results through the reduction of transport costs and the increase of the logistic competitiveness.
By this way, Morocco moved up 44 places at the level of the Logistic Performance Indicator published by the World Bank in 5 years, passing from the 94th position in 2007 to the 50th position in 2012. It has registered also a net increase of maritime connectivity, passing from the 77th position in 2007 to the 18th in 2010 according to the indicator published by CNUCED.
UfM: What importance is attributed to the logistic industry, and what are the objectives and the potential future references?
AR: Morocco accords great importance on developing the logistics sector. A national strategy extending to 2030 is defining and is in process of opening for the increase of logistics competitiveness of the Kingdom.
The strategy, which presents important economic objectives, has the ambition of reaching 0.5 points of GDP growth over 10 years, following the signature in April 2010 of a Program Contract for the period 2010-2015 involving the State and the Private Sector.
This contract defines the framework of the logistic sector development in Morocco, sets the guidelines and the objectives of the new integrated strategy for the development of the logistics competitiveness and includes joint commitments between State and Private Sector.
This logistics strategy is articulated specifically on the development of an integrated national network of logistical zones of an overall area of 3.300 hectares around 2030, putting in place measures of optimization and massification of flows of goods in the national economy, the emergence of the logistical actors, both public and private, whether integrated and efficient, and the development of competences through a national training plan within the logistics activities.
The implementation of the measures and actions related to these areas will be in process with ambitious objectives over the short and mid-terms, for a complete deployment around 2030.
The recent inauguration of the Moroccan Logistics Development Agency (AMDL) is a strong signal of the importance given by the State to the logistics industry and a confirmation of its desire to have a governance framework that would allow appropriate implementation of national logistic strategy.
UfM: What are the synergies and the value added that the LOGISMED-TA project can contribute to the logistic development of the Mediterranean region?
AR: The evolution witnessed by the world stresses the major interest of a better cooperation relating to logistical infrastructure and services and invites the decision-makers to innovate and intensify the partnership and to make use of all the possible opportunities.
The LOGISMED-TA project has the same goal, representing a concrete action to set in place a network of euro-Mediterranean logistical platforms functioning according to common criteria of quality conforming to the international best practices.
The LOGISMED-TA program is open to the needs of logistic operators, transport companies and relevant public authorities in this sector and can contribute to the amelioration and harmonization of the logistic training offer in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.
The organization, in this action framework, of training activities on themes and subjects of common interest will foster the creation of a Mediterranean network of experts at different levels of the logistics chain, which will contribute to the positive and coordinated evolution of the transport and logistics sector in the Mediterranean basin.