Of the shortlisted bidders for the initial construction contract, only Sweden’s Skanskadeclined to submit a proposal for the project. French and Dutch companies figure prominently among the bidders. The selected consortium will be responsible for dredging, rock-excavation and construction of jetties and embankments in the first phase of the $1,000 million project, which is intended to establish an international trade and transhipment zone in the kingdom’s impoverished Tangier-Tetouan region. Work on the first phase is due to start in March 2003 and should be completed by June 2006. The UK’s Halcrow Groupwill supervise the construction works (MEED 20:12:02).

A tender for the second phase of work, involving construction of the docks, platforms and equipment, will be launched on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis in May. The successful bidder will be responsible for financing and operating the port berths and developing trade in the industrial free zones, which will be established in the hinterland near the port. The government will finance the construction of basic works, out-of-site infrastructure at the port and the transport infrastructure.