The Moroccan authorities, in view of the success of Tangier Med, are looking for an Africa-America connection with the development of the port of Dakhla on the Atlantic

Morocco as an example of logistical development

Lluis París, responsable de Automoción y Transporte Marítimo del Puerto de Barcelona - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Lluis París, Head of Automotive and Maritime Transport at the Port of Barcelona - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

Lluís París, Commercial Director of the Port of Barcelona, explained to Atalayar the keys to the growth of Tangier Med, within the framework of the Regional Logistics Meetings held in Tetouan (Morocco), organized by Logismed in collaboration with Investangier, the Regional Investment Center of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region. 

The Port of Barcelona has been invited to this regional logistics meeting. What has it given you to participate in this Logistics Meeting? What would you highlight from everything you have heard? 

When we come here, we learn many things in the field of trade and traffic, because Morocco has enormous potential. It is the gateway not only to North Africa, but to the entire continent. We see that there are very large amounts of cargo that we have to learn how to handle. 

Another lesson we are learning is how Morocco has managed to create a transhipment port, which is not only a transhipment port, but also a lever for the country's development. They have been able to take advantage of this maritime connectivity that they have generated with transhipment to offer it to their business fabric and to be able to import and export in a very efficient way. 

When you are used to managing or working in a historic port like Barcelona, and you see that things have been done from scratch, that they have been done so well, with such a well-adjusted dimensioning of the infrastructures and following a series of modern and efficient logistical ideas, you realise that this is the way forward.

They want to export this experience to the port of Dakhla they are building on the Atlantic, which can also offer, beyond the political issues and opportunities, traffic to Europe, America and Africa. 

It is an excellent bridge crossing, between Europe and Africa, but this capacity to reach America, especially Brazil and South America, from this area, is extremely interesting. 

This shows that, if you work in collaboration, in coordination and not in competition or confrontation, the benefit is for everyone. When Tangier Med began to operate, the Spanish ports were somewhat reluctant to collaborate and, now that they are collaborating, the benefit for the Mediterranean, for both parties, is evident. 

Absolutely. Some 60 million containers pass through here, there is enough for everyone and from each place, a type of operation can be carried out which is convenient for a type of client or for a type of traffic. What we have to do is to distribute the cargo in such a way that in the end it is the customers, the territory, the companies that move in each area, that benefit from this advanced logistics.

The Port of Barcelona is going to host an international event as important as the American Sailing Cup. How can it be sold here in Morocco? How can investments be attracted? 

It is obvious that a sporting event such as the America's Cup projects us through the media, it increases interest in Barcelona. We see that people are watching us and we will try to do our best and take advantage of the boost that this event gives us. We have a very clear idea of developing traffic with Africa and developing it through Tangier Med, whether in containers or ferries. And, above all, this means getting to know the customers, getting to know the people who are working here and that they come to know us and that it is easier to collaborate, because all successful models come from collaboration, not from competition.

Lluis París, durante su intervención en el 3er Encuentro Regional de Logística, dedicado a la región de Tánger-Tetuán-Alhucemas - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Lluis París, during his speech at the 3rd Regional Logistics Meeting, dedicated to the Tangiers-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

In Tangier, in addition to good business, there is a good quality of life: gastronomy, hotels, beaches, sports, schools, health, with the great university hospital that has recently been inaugurated... We must not only look at business, but also at the quality of life. 

We come here often and we notice continuous improvements: it is an area that, economically, does not stop growing and, socially, you see that the people are doing well, that everything is very well arranged, that there are all kinds of services, that they are accessible, that it is not super-luxury, but that it adapts to the local population and that those of us who come from outside are always very welcome. 

The New Investment Charter provides facilities for investors, reduces bureaucracy, speeds up the creation of new companies, clarifies taxation and increases legal certainty. For a company coming from abroad, in this case from Barcelona, this is very important. 

Historically, Morocco's legal security has always been impeccable. And now, little by little, it is advancing even more with digitalisation and with all the most modern elements that allow us to be faster, that allow us to eliminate paperwork and get to the crux of the matter. If a point needs to be reviewed, it can be reviewed telematically and we save paperwork, certificates, exchange of folders and, frankly, the improvement is notorious. We think that, from now on, it will work better and better, because there is a lot of economic interest and a lot of social and personal interest in bringing us closer together.

Lluis París, responsable de Automoción y Transporte Marítimo del Puerto de Barcelona - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Lluis París, Head of Automotive and Maritime Transport at the Port of Barcelona - ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

Did you take away any contracts or concrete actions from any company during these conferences? 

We are not taking any contracts because we are the Port Authority and we come here to promote, to generate enthusiasm, to explain the possibilities offered by Barcelona, to look for the possibilities offered here. At our level, we have decided to collaborate with some operators and other entities, to work specifically on various issues, to improve, to move forward and to make it much easier for customers to reach us.