Morocco has obtained a $112.3m loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to improve the state’s Tangier-Casablanca-Marrakech railway route.

The fund has been allocated to the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) to dualise the 142-kilometre rail line linking the cities of Settat and Marrakech, an AfDB statement said.

The project will save passengers travel time and allow increased passenger and freight traffic between Casablanca and Marrakech.

The AfDB forecasts that annual passenger volume could rise from the current 4.5 million to more than 7 million by 2020, when the dualisation project is completed. The bank also said the freight volume could double during this period, without specifying the current freight volume on the route.

The bank in 2010 is understood to have provided ONCF a larger loan, at $396m, for the modernisation of certain elements of the same railway route.

These projects are being carried out in response to a reported 20 per cent rise in passenger volumes along this route between 2010 and 2014.