The new Moroccan container terminal, 30km outside Tangier, Eurogate Tanger on Wednesday handled its first containership ahead of the start of regular liner services next month.
The first ship at the facility was the massive 8,488-TEU CMA CGM Otello, which discharged five disassembled Kalmar rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs).
The first regular service to call at Eurogate Tanger will be kicking off on Oct. 8 2008 with CMA CGM La Traviata, another 8,488-TEU ship. The terminal has 450 meters of quayside and five container gantry cranes. By the end of the year, the quay length will be extended to 810 meters and three more container gantry cranes will arrive in January 2009.
“Although the official opening ceremony of Eurogate Tanger will not be until spring next year, we will be fully operational by the end of this year. We are now starting to handle ocean carriers and will soon increase the number of services,” said Domenico Bagalà, president of the management board of Eurogate Tanger.
Eurogate Tanger is a joint development between German container terminal operator Eurogate and major European shipping lines Mediterranean Shipping Co., Zim and CMA CGM, together with its Moroccan subsidiary Comanav. It will be the major engine for economic growth in the Tangier region and is estimated to create over 100,000 new jobs directly and many more indirectly. Several new large scale manufacturing concerns have already moved to the area to take advantage of the port facilities and the adjacent Free Trade Zone (which allows import and export without tarriffs) including Nissan Renault and Airbus Industries.
Michael Kent of Moroccan Sands added ” The new port will revolutionise Tangier and inject much needed wealth into the local economy. This will undoubtedly have an upward impact on Tangier property prices as expats and middle class Moroccans enter the market. Indeed, in our opinion, this is what makes Tangier such a geat investment - not only are you investing in a city with caché but the growth is based on real economic factors and not reliant on the holiday rental market.”