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Tanger Med 2 Expansion Opens at Last

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Tanger Med 2 under construction (Bouygues Travaux Publics)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-06-27 13:45:34

On Thursday, the long-awaited Tanger Med 2 port expansion project will open outside Tangiers, Morocco, adding 3.3 million TEU capacity and making it the largest container port in the Mediterranean. 

Tanger Med is a purpose-built transshipment port located on the Strait of Gibraltar, and it serves as a junction for shipping between Africa, Europe and Asia. Moroccan port officials hope that Tanger Med 2 will add one million TEU of actual volume to the busy port within a year, and expects that it will reach capacity by the middle of the next decade. 

Maersk's APM Terminals will operate the new $800 million container terminal at Tanger Med 2, which APMT has dubbed MedPort Tangier (not to be confused with the original Tanger Med). MedPort Tangier has about 1.2 kilometers of berthing, the majority with about 18 meters of depth alongside. It is highly automated - the first automated terminal of its kind in Africa - and will be able to handle the latest generation of container ships with capacities in excess of 22,000 TEU. Its primary customer base will be the carriers of Maersk's own 2M Alliance. 

BSTM, TMYBS and Boskalis conducted the major construction work for Tanger Med 2's breakwaters, quays and terminal areas. Boskalis sourced and deposited more than 200 million cubic feet of sand to recaim about 110 acres for the terminal. Construction began in 2009, APMT won the contract to operate the terminal in 2016, and the facility was expected to be completed by 2018. 

Tanger Med is adjacent to four free-trade zones, which have become a hub for Moroccan-based auto factories operated by European car makers and parts suppliers. The port handles a large volume of ro/ro traffic in addition to containerized goods.  

Rachid Houari, the director of Tanger Med, told the Financial Times that the port attracts traffic naturally due to its strategic location. “There are 100,000 ships going through the Strait of Gibraltar every year and most need to do transshipment,” he said in a 2016 interview. “We are in an excellent position because sailing here requires no deviation.”

Note: APMT has described MedPort Tangier's capacity as both 3.3 million and 5.0 million TEU. The latter figure has been the most widely reported.