New trade route to connect Maghreb countries and Spain

Maritime trading route to connect Spain and Maghreb countries

Spain’s new maritime trade route with Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia boosts Euro-Maghreb relations, according to Asharq al-Awsat and agencies.

Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) reported on 25th February that Tunisia’s port in Sfax will experience a stronger economy with the launch of the new container transportation route.

Experts noted that the new route would have “remarkable success given the significant commercial ties that bring these countries together” as well as their distance from the commercial chaos in the Red Sea.

The four trading partners have neglected Algeria from the route, speaking volumes about their relations and limited commercial ties with Algeria.

Despite Algeria’s recent “diplomatic breakthrough” in relations with Spain, the country’s exclusion from the trade route is likely due to its lack of normalisation with Morocco and its proximity to Russia.

Tensions between Algeria and Morocco have been recorded well into the 1960s, as reported by Al Jazeera. Some recent instances include Algeria’s closure of all transit operations via Morocco in January 2024, and Algeria’s accusations against Morocco for producing and circulating counterfeit currency.

On the other hand, Spanish-Moroccan relations have recently strengthened through Spain’s recognition of Morocco as the sovereign of the heavily disputed Western Sahara in 2022. Spain’s recognition was cemented as Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez visited Morocco’s king, Mohamed VI in February 2024.

READ: Morocco: trade deficit down 7% amid tourism boom

As for Libya and Tunisia, relations were improved after Libya sent dozens of food and supply trucks to aid Tunisia’s economic crisis that led to repeated shortages of basic goods in 2023.

State friendly Morocco World News reported that the spokesperson for the Maghreb-Spanish maritime route, Malek Aloui disclosed that the new shipping service is highly “competitive,” due to its low pricing and rapid travel times.

Aloui mentioned that through the new route, travel to Morocco will take just four days, and voyages to Spain will take up to six days. The departures from Sfax are scheduled to run twice a month, insinuating an increase in connectivity for businesses.

Tunisia’s Ministry of Transport declared that this agreement would reinforce Tunisia as the Mediterranean Sea’s commercial hub.

In 2022, trade between Tunisia and Spain accumulated $2.4 billion in imports and exports, while trade between Tunisia and Libya hit $970 million in the same year.



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