A new direct shipping route, which will connect the UK and Morocco, is to be launched shortly. The route, which has been established by maritime and transport specialist, United Seaways, will link Poole in Dorset to Tangier, Morocco.
The new line has been in planning for over two years and will help bypass post-Brexit traffic congestion and additional import procedures on goods arriving via Europe. It will also significantly reduce emissions compared to current logistic chains by road.
The route will run once per week and cut journey times on Moroccan goods to fewer than three days, compared to more than six days via road.
The route currently includes two ferry crossings – one from Morocco to Spain and one from North Europe to UK – but the new link will avoid the associated bureaucratic Brexit procedures and the time delays the other crossings face. It will also be used to encourage British importers to source fresh produce and other products directly from Morocco and Africa, promoting southbound trade and scaleup exchanges between the two kingdoms, which have a long-standing history of over 800 years.
Captain Brian Murphy, Marine and Port Director at Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: “We are very excited to be hosting United Seaways’ brand-new roll-on-roll-off ferry service. It will reduce the time taken for goods to arrive by half and will see significant environmental benefits by reducing road freight.
“This is an exciting opportunity for UK, Moroccan and African importers and exporters, who are looking to develop existing and establish new business relationships. We will work closely with United Seaways to ensure this service is a huge success.
“With our high customer satisfaction levels, skilled workforce and ample operational space, the Port of Poole is ideally set up to receive both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.
“To avoid unnecessary disruptions, we work closely with UK Border Control, Port Health, and the Animal & Plant Health Agency to ensure that all the necessary checks are carried out as efficiently as possible right here on the port estate.
“We are the “can-do” port and look forward to supporting the future growth of the UK import and export market.”
Zeyd Fassi Fehri, MD United Seaways, said: “Our aim is to support businesses with post-Brexit, supply chain challenges and opportunities. This service will create a sustainable and environmental alternative when launched in the coming months. The speed and efficiency of the vessel ensures a longer shelf life for fresh products whilst reducing road congestion, tolls and additional import procedures that have arisen since Brexit.”
Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, said: “Any solution that makes imports more effective, or eases trading with alternative countries, may well be a great opportunity for helping the UK source fresh produce from around the world.
“I anticipate a strong demand for this new direct roro service. The route offers a rapid service and avoids the additional tariff complications of trading via the EU since the beginning of the year.
“At this challenging time, it’s a very welcome alternative to the increasing complexity of trading with Europe.”
Mostafa Benhima, Senior Consultant with the Moroccan Team, said: “The Kingdom of Morocco and the United Kingdom have close friendship and a connection which is over 800 years old. We welcome the new line to Tangier Med Port and know that its success will scale up the trade between Morocco and the UK.”
Colin McMurray, Non Exec Director, said: “It’s fantastic to be part of a visionary organisation which thinks out of the box. Whilst the project has been some years in the making, the timing of the start of the service could not be better.”