The diplomatic crisis that broke out last April between Morocco and Spain, due to the hospitalization in an Iberian hospital under a false name of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali , without informing the Rabat authorities, has become a great economic opportunity for neighboring Portugal. in particular for its port sector.
The maritime connection between Tangier and Portimao will in fact be operational from 1 July. This was announced by the Minister of Equipment and Transport of Rabat, Abdelkader Amara. “As I speak to you, the director of the merchant marine is in Lisbon to put the finishing touches on the agreement that will be signed between Morocco and Portugal,” the minister told local media. According to the representative of the government of Rabat, two ships flying the Moroccan flag will enter service on this line at the rate of two trips per day to carry a total of 4,000 people per day. The crossing between the two ports will last almost 7 hours and will be at “reasonable prices”, promises Amara.
Thanks therefore to the crisis between Morocco and Spain, which prompted the Moroccan authorities not to renew the licenses for maritime transport to the Spanish companies that every summer transported millions of Moroccans residing in Europe to return for the summer holidays, Portuguese companies to enter this business that geographical reasons had kept them aloof to this day. However, the flows of Moroccans returning to their homeland will be largely intercepted by the Italian and French companies which will have to strengthen their service, in the absence of the Spanish ports. Minister Amara also revealed that two new lines have entered service: Sete-Al Hoceima and Savona-Tangeri.
It has been about a month since the Moroccan government has been studying the possibility of bringing its citizens residing abroad through Portugal this summer, particularly after the Moroccan government canceled operation Marhaba on Sunday 6 June. for the reception of residents abroad, on Spanish ports. This decision has a significant economic impact on the Cadiz region, where the largest number of travelers are concentrated every year.
To alleviate the unease of Moroccans living in Europe, the government of Rabat has set “reference prices” for shipping companies. Therefore, a family of four will pay 995 euros for a round trip on long-distance journeys and 450 euros on average distance. By taking this step, the government expects to transport 48,000 people and 15,000 vehicles per week by ship, reaching 650,000 people and 180,000 vehicles, or one-fifth of the normal passenger flow in a year.
After touching the immigration field, with Rabat’s decision to open the border with the Spanish enclave of Ceuta for 48 hours, thus allowing the arrival of 9,000 migrants, this time Morocco’s retaliation against Spain for having given hospitality to the separatist leader Ghali has an economic character and affects the maritime sector. Every year 3 million Moroccan migrants residing in Europe return home for the summer holidays in August. To accommodate this exodus of people, who mostly move by sea, the Rabat authorities have for years started the so-called “Operation Marhaba”, suspended only last year due to the pandemic.
The novelty of this year is that there will be no “Operation Marhaba” for the Spanish ports. Shipping companies and Spanish ports will therefore not enjoy the influx of hundreds of thousands of Moroccans returning home for the holidays, with the consequent economic return. The cancellation of this operation for the Spanish ports only “will have a high economic cost for the budgets of the Spanish shipping companies which, during the summer months, worked with the transfer of these people. Morocco therefore dealt a blow to Spain with damage that in economic terms is estimated at 1,150 million euros.
[In the photo: Port of Tangier – Wikipedia]

Previous articleLa Cartuja de Sevilla creates the solidarity crockery of Action against Hunger
Next articleResidents of Las Vegas denounce that a police operation has left them without light