Major steps have been taken on the Tangier-Mediterranean (TangMed) port project, with invitations to bid (ITBs) issued for a second container terminal and for towage and salvage facilities at the port. ITBs are also awaited for work on a hydrocarbons terminal.

Nine groups have been invited to bid for the 30-year concession to operate the second container terminal, including the UK’s P&O, CMA-CGMof France and Taiwan-based Evergreen. The deadline for bids is expected to be the end of April, although there is some flexibility for negotiations. An award is expected by September, with the terminal due to be operational by 2008.

Invitations have been limited to those firms that bid to operate the first terminal in late 2004. The winning consortium of Denmark’s Maerskand the local Akwa Holdingis not permitted to bid.

The operators are free to introduce new companies into their consortia, however. To guarantee independence, each consortium must include an operator that does not run its own maritime line.

The terms of the contract are likely to be similar to those for the first concession, although this time no minimum level of investment has been stipulated nor has a threshold been set for the volume of the terminal’s throughput.

‘High volumes have been guaranteed for the first terminal,’ says a TMSA representative. ‘So we are not in a hurry to guarantee volumes for the second. We want companies to commit to a certain amount of traffic, but not so much as to proscribe the involvement of other entrants at a later date.’ The capacity of the second terminal is likely to be similar to that of the first, at about 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year.

About 10 companies have been shortlisted for the concession to manage and operate distribution services on a 110-metre-long hydrocarbons terminal at the port. The terminal’s quay will be able to accommodate tankers of 280-300 metres in length. The duration of the concession has not been finalised, but is expected to be 30 years. An award is likely in October, but a date for the start of operations has not yet been set.

ITBs were issued on 17 January for towage and salvage work on the port. The contract calls for at least four new tug boats and related equipment. Bids are due by the end of April, with a contract award expected by the end of the year. Studies are also under way in preparation for the issue of tenders for plots on the construction of quays.

The TangMed port, which will be one of the largest deepwater ports in the Mediterranean, is expected to receive its first ships in March 2007 (MEED 3:12:04).