Portugal and Morocco join forces to compete with Northern European ports

Creating a “maritime hub” with enough infrastructures and services to compete with Northern European ports is the goal of a new agreement signed yesterday by Portugal and Morocco.

“We have to stop thinking about Moroccan ports as our rivals and vice-versa, and start thinking in a more comprehensive way,” Portugal’s Sea Minister Ana Paula Vitorino told Lusa news agency after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Moroccan government.

In a nutshell, both countries want the southern European/Mediterranean area to be just as attractive for ships as other busier alternatives up north in Europe such as Rotterdam and Antwerp. And to make this happen, the two nations agree they need to work together.

The partnership will see Portugal and Morocco collaborating in everything from “training to using the same technical procedures, regulations and safety measures”.

It also opens up new opportunities for Portuguese companies, as Morocco is planning a number of investments in its maritime sector – namely the construction of several new infrastructures, such as roads, ports and railways.

Moroccan Minister Aziz Rabbah welcomed the idea of Portuguese investment, saying that “over one hundred Portuguese companies already operate in Morocco”, and that there is “still room for more”.

He added that the North African country is definitely looking for “partners” to help develop its maritime infrastructure plans.

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Caption: Sea minister Ana Paula Vitorino with Moroccan Minister Aziz Rabbah in Forte de São Julião da Barra, Oeiras on September 1