MOROCCO – A recent whitepaper by Maersk has revealed that over 64% of European firms have altered how they source materials to navigate supply chain instability with Morocco positioning itself as a viable alternative sourcing location for 4% of European companies.

This trend can well be attributed to the current global supply chain disruptions driving the increased resilience by European companies seeking more flexibility and reduced reliance on single sources by diversify their sourcing strategies.

Morocco, strategically located on the periphery of Europe, stands as the third-largest African exporter to the EU.

Despite running a trade deficit, with USD 71.51 billion in imports and USD 41.15 billion in exports to the EU in 2022, Morocco’s unique advantages are drawing attention.

Morocco’s strategic position and economic potential

Morocco is evolving into a key strategic hub for North Africa and the entire continent, boasting the fifth-largest GDP in Africa.

The country’s economic growth is projected to reach 4.8% by 2026, rebounding from a downturn in 2016. Factors such as low labor costs and business-friendly policies have played a pivotal role in Morocco’s economic recovery.

While Morocco currently contributes only 1% to the total EU goods trade, a substantial 56% of its exports are directed to the EU.

The country offers a cost-effective partnership across various industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and fuel, aligning with the needs of European companies seeking regional suppliers.

Despite the existence of a free trade area between the EU and Morocco for over two decades, there is still untapped potential for trade expansion.

The aftermath of COVID-19, geopolitical tensions, and economic recessions have heightened the attractiveness of African countries, especially with the advent of continental free trade pacts.

However, to fully capitalize on these opportunities, enhanced connectivity between Europe and Morocco is imperative.

Maersk’s role in strengthening connectivity

Recognizing the need for improved connectivity, Maersk has introduced the Morocco Bridge solution.

Emilio de la Cruz, Managing Director of Southwest Europe at Maersk, emphasized the importance of finding synergies within the current network and identifying areas for improvement.

The Morocco Bridge is a multimodal service that integrates rail and truck transport across Morocco, complemented by a thrice-weekly ocean shuttle from Tangier to Algeciras, Spain.

This innovative solution not only reduces congestion and emissions but also accelerates trade growth between the EU and Morocco.

De la Cruz highlighted the significance of meeting the demands of customers in specialty industries with tight deadlines. He stated, “Our solution had to reflect that – we needed to switch from talking days of lead time to hours.”

In addition to the short-sea shuttle, Maersk has launched a new Barcelona-Southern France rail offering.

 The company continues to invest in specialized equipment to align with cargo flows into the continent, aiming to enhance connectivity not only between Morocco and Spain but also across the entirety of southern Europe.

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