The repercussions of the exclusion of the Spanish ports from the operation ” Marhaba 2021 Are linked. Spanish companies have thus protested against this Moroccan decision, which they considered as a ” economic setback ”For this summer season which coincides with the continued decline in tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus, Spanish companies have confirmed that Morocco’s decision to exclude Spanish ports from this large-scale operation which allows millions of Moroccans to return to the country ” had an impact serious economic “, in particular in the areas through which the Moroccan community passes, the number of which amounts to nearly three million people.
The economic losses of Spanish companies affected by this decision were estimated at 500 million euros by the Spanish daily ” El Mundo“, In particular in areas experiencing a dynamic following the operation” Marhaba“.
Spanish business leaders acknowledged that this was a ” hard blow »For the cities which constitute the link between Europe and Africa. In the port of Almeria alone, more than half a million passengers were expected, they say.
According to José Ignacio Landalos, mayor of Algeciras who spoke to the Spanish newspaper, the maintenance was carried out this year so that the port can accommodate and ensure the transfer of travelers to North Africa, in compliance with the conditions of health security to prevent the spread of the virus.
” We hoped, one way or another, that Operation Marhaba would go through Spanish ports. But with the argument they put forward and which is linked to health issues, we have no choice but to accept it… we at least hope that travelers will return to Europe, via our port ”, he stressed.
The port of Almeria is the second in Spain in terms of members of the Moroccan community residing in Europe. In summer 2019, the port experienced the transit of more than 580,000 passengers via the maritime terminal (an increase of 4.2% compared to 2018), and more than 130,000 vehicles.
The Iberian media have indicated that in the municipality of Motril, in southern Spain, a loss of 20 million euros is expected due to the cancellation of Operation Marhaba 2021 since it is about the economic activity that has the most impact on the city. This will strongly impact the ports of Algeciras, Tarifa, Malaga, Motril, Almeria, Alicante, Sebta and Melilla.
Manuel Piedra, president of the Algeciras Port Services Association, said the decision means “ a loss of millions of euros “For a group of companies working in services related to the activity of Operation Marhaba, noting that” every stop of a ship in a Spanish port generates income of thousands of euros in many sectors“.
Noting that the “ political issues “Are somewhat related to this decision, he added that” there was a good prospect this year. We thought the transit operation would get back to normal … not like before the pandemic, one way or another“.
It should be recalled that the Moroccan authorities had announced that the return of Moroccan citizens living abroad in Morocco, by sea, would be done from the same maritime transit points that were set up during the year. elapsed, that is to say exclusively from the ports of Sète in France and Genoa in Italy.