Morocco’s national railway operator ONCF has invited companies to bid by 30 October for a contract to increase the capacity of the Tangier-Marrakech railway line.

The work is split into six packages and covers the upgrade and partial double-tracking works on a 40 kilometre stretch of rail between Settat and Marrakech. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Six infrastructure packages:

  • Package 1: Settat to Khmissat
  • Package 2: Khmissat to Imfout
  • Package 3 Ben Guerir to N’zalat Laadam
  • Package 4: N’zalat Laadam to Sidi Bou Othmane
  • Package 5: Sidi Bou Othmane to Koudia
  • Package 6: Koudia to Sidi Ghanem

In 2013, ONCF tendered the supply and installation of equipment at stations along the third rail line being built between Zenata and Kenitra, and the double track between Skhours and Benguerir, and Sidi Ghanem and Marrakech.

The contracts are part of a wider programme to increase the capacity of the Tangier-Marrakech railway line. The wider project includes the construction of a 148km third track between Zenata and Kenitra, which will be dedicated to freight traffic.

Financing for the project was secured from the African Development Bank in December 2010. The bank lent the ONCF a five-year investment loan of €300m ($398m). Total project costs amounted to €438.2m, with the remainder of the funds to be raised by the rail authority.

The capacity increase is needed to meet Morocco’s anticipated growth in demand for freight transportation, particularly given the increasing amount of shipping traffic passing through the port of Tangiers.