A consortium of Denmark’s Maerskand the local Akwa Holdinghas been awarded the 30-year concession to operate the first container terminal on the flagship Tangier-Mediterranean (TangMed) port project. The port is due to start operations in the first half of 2007.

The contract calls for investment of Eur 120 million ($160 million) by 2007, rising to Eur 150 million ($199 million) by 2010, and payment of monthly dues totalling more than Eur 100 million ($133 million) over the life of the concession. The concessionaire, of which Maersk is to hold a 90 per cent share, is committed to exploiting the bulk of the terminal’s capacity – 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year – during the early years of the contract. It also pledges to enter into a programme to encourage the increased competitiveness of companies in the port’s hinterland.

The consortium beat off competition from a second shortlisted group, comprising the UK’s P&O, CMA-CGMof France and Taiwan-based Evergreen, following four rounds of negotiations (MEED 30:7:04).

Four further developments are expected on the TangMed project in December:

Invitations to bid (ITBs) for the contract on a second container terminal, of a similar size to the first. The contract, expected to be awarded in March 2005, will be open to all the candidates for the first terminal, with the exception of the successful consortium;

ITBs for the 30-year concession to manage and operate a 110-metre-long hydrocarbons terminal. Ten companies and groups have submitted expressions of interest;

ITBs for haulage services;

The award of lots on the construction of quays.

TangMed will be one of the largest deepwater ports in the Mediterranean. Total project costs, including the development of several nearby free zones and a 61-kilometre road link to the Tangier-Rabat highway, are estimated at about $1,000 million.

The client, the Tangier-Mediterranean Special Agency (TMSA), and the UAE’s Jebel Ali Free Zone International ( JAFZI) signed in mid-October a 10-year co-operation agreement for the operation of TangMed’s free zones (MEED 22:10:04).