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Tangier Med the African port complying with EU emissions regs

Photo: Marcus Hand hassan-abkari-toc.jpg
Tangier Med terminal in Morocco offers excellent access to the European market but this has also led to it being treated like it is a port in Europe when it comes to new EU environmental regulations.

Tangier Med has been a major success over the last 14 years going from zero to handling 8.6 million teu last year. Sitting just across the Strait of Gibraltar Tangier Med is today equivalent to being the third largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam and Antwerp having overtaken Hamburg in terms of container throughput last year.

Speaking at the Challenges and Opportunities for Maritime Trade Across the Mediterranean session at TOC Europe Hassan Abkari, Managing Director of Tangier Med Port Authority, noted the port’s location and zero deviation required by lines to call as well as its strong relationships with European partners such as CMA CGM and AP Moller – Maersk.

Abkari sees Tangier Med as part of a broader system of ports in the West Med, including Spain, that can support each for example if one port has congestion or a strike lines can call one of the other facilities. “So, we are a set of ports developing a new competitive advantage that is shared all between us,” Hassan explained.

He said it was critical for ports to adapt to the new maritime regulatory changes that are taking place for shipping – in particular emissions regulations from the European Union and International Maritime Organization (IMO).

While Tangier Med is in Africa its success as a major transhipment hub within 300 nm of the EU sees it being treated the same as European ports when it comes to new regulations such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. It is a similar situation for Port Said in Egypt.

“The EU considers Tangier Med as a part of Europe today, especially under the EU ETS framework. As Tangier Med we are closely monitoring the EU fit for 55 package, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime shipping by 55% by 2030,” he said.

From 2030 the EU will also require ships to use of shore power when in port for more than two hours. “So, at Tangier Med as again, a neighboring transhipment port, we need to comply to maintain our competitive edge.

“There's new constraints we have to integrate to our investment capacity and also to the services we are offering to our customers like Maersk Line and CMA CGM,” he explained.

Tangier Med is also following the EU’s renewable energy directive which targets a 42.5% use of renewal energy by 2030.

As well as EU measures Tangier Med is committed to adhering to IMO regulations aimed at reducing maritime emissions. Hassan noted that while European countries were defending their position with the IMO there was no African taskforce or working group to defend the African position, especially for ports that are being considered European under EU regulations.