Tangier – HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied by HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and HRH Prince Megren Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud launched, on Thursday at the Tangier-Ville rail station, the building works of a high-speed link that will link Tangier to Casablanca, worth 20 billion dirhams (€1.8 billion).
– The Tangier-Casablanca rail link is a structuring project that will contribute to reinforcing and improving the transport grid in Morocco, and is part of far-reaching project policy in the Kingdom;
– Morocco is the first country of Africa and the Arab world to have such a technologically advanced rail transport grid;
During this ceremony, which was attended by HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Saud, Moroccan equipment and transport minister, Karim Ghellab, gave a presentation on the importance of this structuring project that will contribute to reinforcing and improving the transport grid in Morocco, and is part of far-reaching project policy in the Kingdom.
Ghellab said that this link is the first stage in the high-speed rail master plan set up in 2006, which provides for building 1,500 km of new links, including the Atlantic axis: Tangier-Casablanca-Marrakech-Agadir, and the Maghreb one: Rabat-Fez-Oujda.
This stage, which is expected to be operational by December 2015, will make Morocco the first country of Africa and the Arab world to have such a technologically advanced rail transport grid.
The project will meet the growing demand for rail transport between Casablanca and Tangier (+70% between 2002 and 2009).
The €1.8 billion project will be financed by the Moroccan state by €414 million, the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development (€86 million), France (€920 million), the Saudi Fund For Development (€144 million), the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (€100 million), the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (€70 million) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (€66 million).
The project is expected to generate 30 million working days during the building phase and 2500 direct and indirect jobs during the operational stage.
Afterwards, an agreement set up an institute for training in rail professions between Morocco’s rail company (ONCF) and its French counterpart (SNCF).