How has ANP developed since its creation in 2007?
The ANP was established in 2007 as part of the implementation of port sector reform, which is based on a clear separation of missions between the different actors according to the “Landlord Port” model. The Moroccan Ports Authority (ANP)’s vision is to federate all the stakeholders of the port ecosystem to improve Moroccan port competitiveness, and consequently Moroccan economy competitiveness, since 98% of the country's foreign trade flows through its ports. Since its creation, the ANP has accomplished several large-scale projects relating to (i) the upgrading of port infrastructures by mobilizing investments of more than USD2 billion, (ii) the establishment of a new governance model of the sector through the encouragement of the intervention of private operators in port activities, and (iii) the strengthening of the digitalization and dematerialization of port processes through PortNet, the port community system of Moroccan ports. Nowadays, it is obvious that the national port sector has marked a qualitative leap with performance levels that have nothing to envy of the largest ports internationally.
Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge and the world has experienced a downturn in trade. What have been the main challenges for the port sector and ANP?
Since the outbreak of the health crisis related to COVID-19, all the actors of the Moroccan port ecosystem have mobilized to set up a port activities continuity plan, as well as precautionary measures to face the pandemic risk and keep all port services operational. As shown by activity figures (+5.1% at the end of 2020), Moroccan ports have succeeded in this challenge with great agility and resilience, fully assuming their role as platforms at the service of the national economy. I must highlight that the ports were the only border point that remained operational during the lockdown period. The national port sector has very quickly set up operational processes adapted to the new context that requires health security measures to deal with the spread of COVID-19. As such, the digitization and dematerialization of port processes have been, as part of the management of this crisis, a crucial tool that has allowed the national port sector to succeed in the challenge of service continuity. The context of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the relevance of the strategic choices of the ANP aimed at the dematerialization of port processes through the implementation in 2008, in concert with all the actors of the port ecosystem, of PortNet.
In May, the government announced the New Development Model, which aims to modernize all sectors of the economy. What are your thoughts on the objectives, and what will be the possible impact on your work?
The New Development Model of Morocco, as you mentioned, defines a new vision for the country, which aims to trigger an acceleration of the economic dynamic and to consolidate the kingdom's society project. As part of its strategic plan for the 2022-2024 period, the ANP plans to contribute to the declination of the orientations set out in the NMD, including logistics competitiveness, the consolidation of the sectoral regulatory mission, and the strengthening of digitization through the "Smart Ports" program. The implementation of these various projects will contribute to further strengthening the competitiveness of national ports.
What are your ambitions and expectations for the next six months?
The global context remains impacted by the effects of the health crisis, with an imbalance in world trade exchanges, which has led to new challenges linked to the surge in freight rates and the scarcity of containers. In Morocco, as I have already mentioned, the health crisis did not impact the overall trade volumes of the ports managed by the ANP, which continued to follow a positive trend. For 2022, we expect a moderate growth of 2.4% in national port traffic, with an overall volume of 92.8 million tons. In terms of objectives, the main priorities set by the ANP in the short and medium term are (i) the finalization of current projects, (ii) the strengthening of operational regulation by reengineering processes, and (iii) the acceleration of the digitalization and dematerialization of port processes.