MOROCCO – Morocco’s National Ports Agency (ANP) has selected the British firm Global Ports Holding (GPH) as the preferred bidder for managing the new cruise terminal in Casablanca.

GPH made this announcement through a press release following a tender invitation by ANP.

GPH holds the majority stake in the consortium, owning 51%, with local shareholder Steya at 40%, and Spanish company Ocean Infrastructures Management holding the remaining 9%.

The London-based operator disclosed that the consortium and ANP will collaborate under a 15-year concession agreement.

“The consortium and ANP will now proceed to negotiate the terms of the concession agreement,” stated GPH in the press release.

This new cruise terminal, with an investment of MAD 715 million (USD 71 million), aims to address the infrastructural gap in the Kingdom concerning cruise ships. It also seeks to boost the number of cruise passengers visiting Casablanca and other Moroccan cities.

The terminal boasts the capability to accommodate ships up to 350 meters long and can cater to an annual passenger capacity of 450,000.

The development includes the construction of a new cruise quay, a cruise terminal, and a marine station meeting international standards, significantly enhancing the port’s capacity. By 2025, Casablanca port aims to handle 180,000 transit passengers, up from 150,000 this year.

Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, serves as the starting point for cruises to the capital Rabat and the vibrant city of Marrakech.

Accessibility to these destinations will be further improved with the upcoming completion of the bullet train project, reducing travel time to just 1.2 hours. This project is anticipated to be finished before the FIFA World Cup jointly hosted by Morocco, Spain, and Portugal in 2030.

The British operator also highlights Casablanca as a crucial stopover port for Canary Island and West Mediterranean cruises, as well as crossings between Europe and the Caribbean.

Global Ports Holding stands as the world’s largest independent cruise port operator. Recently, the company secured a 50-year concession agreement with Mersey Docks & Harbour, a division of British Peel Ports, to offer services at Liverpool’s cruise port.

This new development comes a month after Morocco registered a 20% surge in port traffic revenues in 2023.

ANP reported robust financial performance and increased port traffic by the end of 2023 with the financial statement revealing that the agency’s cumulative turnover as of December 2023 reached MAD 2.5 billion (USD249 million), marking a 20% year-on-year increase.

The surge in revenue can be attributed to various factors, including enhanced product offerings and improved operational strategies, as explained by ANP in the statement.

Consolidated turnover, which accounts for total revenue from all subsidiaries, divisions, and affiliated entities, nearly touched MAD 2.8 billion (USD 279 million), reflecting a 19.6% rise compared to the previous year.

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