The coasts of the Kingdom’s southern provinces, from Agadir to Lagouira, are spread out over a 1700 km, that is to say a little more than half of the entire kingdom’s maritime frontage. In 1976, the Sahara region was practically deprived of any significant harbour installation.
Currently, the existing harbour installations are of cardinal importance. Their starting up took part considerably in the economic development of the region. The activities related to transit by these ports create tens of thousands of direct and indirect employment requiring diversified trained and qualified labour.
Considering the importance of the role played by ports in the national economy, investments were carried out, planned or programmed during the period between 1975 and 2007 in order to accompany the development of the Saharan provinces.
In this respect, the adopted strategy revolves around three main axes:
- reinforcing the role of ports in the Sahara region relating to the economic and social development of the region;
- contributing to the opening-up of the Sahara region;
- consolidating the decentralization policy relating to harbour traffic.
The implementation of this strategy brought about the setting up of several projects in the Sahara ports, particularly:
- creating joint activity zones in ports particularly the harbour zone of Dakhla on a surface of 270Ha allowing to place at the disposal of potential investors platforms developed for the establishment of production facilities;
- Encouraging the development of the annexed activities related to traffic in Saharan ports. It includes, inter alia, fishery conditioning, distribution, processing and manufacturing, in addition to activities relating to ships fuelling and reparation etc.
- All these additional activities lead to industrial activities or services requiring the development of trade and regional planning likely to develop the economic potentialities in the Sahara region.
- Building new harbour infrastructures such as the new port of Dakhla.
- Reinforcing infrastructures supporting the development of the fishing activity through setting up reparation naval building sites, installation of harbour zones for the creation of processing industries relating to fishery products, reinforcement of the capacities of cold chains thanks to support by private investors... etc.
Saharan ports take part in the opening-up of this region at the international (international traffic) and national (coastal traffic) levels. They also help the creation of road transport infrastructures.
Key achievements in the port sector
• Map illustrating ports
• Tan Tan Port
The port of Tan-Tan was created in 1977. The first stage of this port was realized between 1977 and 1980 at a total cost of 300 million dirhams to meet the needs of medium-term coastal fishing, high seas fishing and small coastal trade.
Further infrastructure including dam extension on 220 ml and the building of one 150 ml berth, were carried out between 1986 and 1987 at an overall cost of about 150 million dirhams to receive high sea fishing vessels and freighters for the evacuation of fishery products.
In an effort to combat silting which disrupt business, improve conditions access and increase port capacity, the extension of facilities has been made against 198 million dirhams (in addition to studies amounting to 5 million dirhams). They focused on:
• A stopping sand dam of 700 m length;
• A stopping sand tenon of 350 m length;
• 6.5 m-4.0 m Docks (472 ml) and equipment;
• Harbour to lift 320 T boats;
• Embankments for filled earth;
• Dredging works;
• Boundary wall of 670 ml length.
• Laayoune Port
In 1980 a new harbour was built in Laayoune on royal instruction. The new port was commissioned in 1986 to supply parts of the Sahara, on the one hand, and secondly to enhance fishery resources and mining in the region.
In March 22, 2006, His Majesty King Mohammed VI inaugurated the extension of Laayoune port. Works began in November 2001. Port extension, whose budget amounts to about 280 million dirhams, includes:
• protection facilities on 1500 ml;
• 6.5 m trade wharf over 276 ml and 3.3 ha;
• Fishing dock at 4 m over 225 ml and 4.2 ha;
• Harbour with a capacity of 350 T and 55 ml repairation dock afloat;
• 10 guano positions to unload fish (150 ml);
• Ro-Ro ramp;
• 25-ton crane;
• 3,000 hp tug-boat;
• Two loaders of 4 m3;
• Two grasshoppers of 450 T/h.
The plan construction and a view of the work are presented below:
• New Dakhla Port
Dakhla city, the capital of the Province of Oued Eddahab, saw in July 2001 the inauguration and commissioning of one the largest fishing ports in the Kingdom.
This port is primarily intended to fishing traffic. It gathers 90% of the national fleet. This area is the most rich in fish resources in the Kingdom.
Dakhla new port is an oasis port linked to land one 1500 ml facility including two 200 and 600 ml bridges and 700 ml access dam, and is protected by 540 ml seawall.
This new port affords for users:
• 300 ml wharf with one 8m draught called trade wharf;
• 3 berths with a total length of 600 ml, subdivided into 3 parts of 300ml, 150ml and 150ml, and one 6m draught constituting the fishing pond;
• A platform of 12 ha leaned to Accosting docks including 7ha intended for the storage and handling of containers and 3ha intended for ship repair.
The port offers 270ha industrial zone including 60ha equipped to cover a wide range of activities including manufacturing, warehouse storage, administrative area,…. Etc.
The overall investment of amounted to 475 million dirhams including 60 million dirhams for the industrial zone.
The objectives of this project are as follows:
• Provide a modern and adequate infrastructure for the reception of fishing units on high seas close to fishing zones;
• Reduce operating costs of fishing vessels given the proximity of the port to fishing zones;
• Provide adequate and arranged space for the improvement of fishing inputs;
• Provide logistical support for the regularization and safeguarding of the fishery;
• Provide logistic landing, transshipment and transit of products.
In social terms, this investment contributes to the creation of new direct and indirect jobs.
Below is the building plan and the views of the Dakhla port.
• Replacement of the north-east half apron, the wharf of Dakhla old port and the realization of a Ro-Ro ramp in the new port
As part of upgrading of drawing alongside infrastructure of the old Dakhla port and in order to improve traffic safety at the wharf of the old port, a project to replace its northern half apron has been achieved.
- Works relating to this project include:
- Demolition works of the existing northern half apron;
- Reconstruction of the half apron;
- Supply and implementation of half apron equipment;
The realization of roadway coating.
In addition, a Ro-Ro ramp was created at the Dakhla new port to enable the stopover of roll-on/roll-off vessels. The overall cost of the above-mentioned work amounted to 40 million dirhams.
All ports in the Sahara region suffer from silting phenomenon due to the morphological nature of the region’s coastline.
In order to ensure access for vessels in the best conditions of safety, about one million m3 of sand is removed every year from ponds and access channels to these ports.
The annual budget for dredging southern ports amounted to more than 20 million dirhams.
Evolution of port activity in the Sahara region
• Trade Traffic
Trade traffic handled by ports in the Sahara region continued to grow significantly following the economic development seen in these provinces.
Indeed, the overall port traffic in Tan-Tan, Laayoune and Dakhla, increased from 1.6 million tonnes in 1990 to about 5 million tons in 2006, i.e. 7% annually.
The traffic handled by ports in the Sahara region consists essentially of hydrocarbons, direct import from the coastal port of Mohammedia, exports of phosphates and sand, fishery products and derivatives (frozen fish, oil and fishmeal).
The charts below show the trend of port trafficking in the Sahara region in the last five years.
• Fishing Traffic
The ports of the Sahara region (Sidi Ifni, Tan-Tan, Laayoune, Dakhla, Boujdour, Tarfaya) provide the transit of 66% of the national production of the inshore fishing with landings amounting to 470,000 tons.
The port of Laayoune ranks first with the landing of more than 305.000T production.
In 2006, the distribution of port fishery landings was as follows:
The sustained development of ports in the Sahara region has led to rapid growth of landings and the development of related activities: ship reparation, installation of processing and recovery plants (canneries, ice plants, flour mills and fish oils).
Source : Agence Nationale des Ports (2007)