The shortlisted operators are Denmark’s Maerskand a group comprising France’s CMA-CGM, Taiwan-based Evergreen and the UK’s P&O. A final selection is expected by the end of the third quarter, immediately after which the TMSA plans to issue a tender for the concession to operate the second terminal, with a view to making an award by March 2005. The timetable has been accelerated, according to the TMSA, to take account of a rapid rise in container traffic in the region.

Nine companies are prequalified for the second-phase infrastructure work on the port, divided into three lots calling for construction of a 1,400-metre-long main quay superstructure with an alongside draught of 16 metres, four roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) terminals with alongside draughts of 12 metres and site excavation and servicing. France’s Bouygueswas awarded the first-phase infrastructure contract in June 2003.

TangMed will be one of the largest deepwater ports in the Mediterranean. Total project costs, including the development of several nearby free zones and construction of a 61-kilometre road link to the Tangier-Rabat highway, are estimated at about $1,000 million. The government will fund the infrastructure to serve the scheme, which is a central plank of a strategy to promote economic development in the northern provinces (MEED 17:10:03).