The “Marhaba 2023” operation is going well on both sides of the shore

The “Marhaba 2023” operation is going well on both sides of the shore

The “Marhaba 2023” operation, which has been underway for a month already (June 5, 2023), is up 28% in terms of arrivals at the various port crossing points compared to the same period last year. indicated Tuesday in the House of Councilors, the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Abdeljalil.

This increase is mainly due to Eid al-Adha, noted Abdeljalil in his response to a question on ” Preparing for the return of MREs emphasizing that the transit operation, launched on June 5 on the instructions of King Mohammed VI, is taking place overall in good conditions, thanks to the joint efforts of all the actors.

On the other side of the Strait, Marhaba or OPE (Operation Crossing the Strait or Crossing the Strait), which began on June 15, is a success in raison not only because of the increasing number of travelers, but also because of the absence of incidents. This is largely due to the excellent cooperation between the Moroccan and Spanish authorities, it is pointed out on the side of the Iberian Peninsula. The coordination of the plan carried out for OPE23 drawn up by the Hispano-Moroccan Joint Commission with the security forces of the two countries marks an unprecedented step, both sides welcome.

Regarding the transit operation by sea for this year, the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Abdeljalil said that his department has worked to provide a reception capacity that can meet the flows expected during peak periods, noting that 32 ships have been mobilized to operate on 12 shipping lines to connect the ports of Spain, France and Italy with those of Morocco, in order to ensure 538 weekly trips with a total capacity of 501,000 passengers and 136,000 cars each week.

Shipping companies are authorized to accommodate more than 360,000 people per day, with frequencies every two hours, and a large number of reception points (18 in Morocco and 6 between France, Spain and Italy ). With some 180,453 and 52,521 passengers respectively, Algeciras and Tarifa lead the way in terms of passenger volume. More than 65% of vehicles left the port of Algeciras, 42% to Tanger-Med and 23% to Sebta. Tarifa pours its flow of passengers and vehicles towards Tanger-Med, while Algeciras connects Sebta and Tanger-ville. According to civil protection data, a total of 77,480 vehicles have already been transported to Morocco through Spanish ports.

Of these, 50,141 departed from Algeciras and 6,654 from Tarifa. In the meantime, it is the port of Almeria which is holding up, recording the shipment of 12,480 vehicles and overtaking Tarifa at the start of the launch of the OPE. Almeria is expected to become the third Spanish port with vehicle traffic of 17% of the total forecast. It is rumored, at least on the north side of the shore, that lower ferry and flight prices are helping the influx of passengers to score better numbers than last year for Operation Marhaba or OPE. Chimera that all that!

Abdeljalil indicated during his visit to the hemicycle that ticket prices have experienced a significant increase at the global level compared to the year 2019, and this due to the inflation that the world is experiencing, stressing that the ministry has recently worked to induce domestic and foreign shipping companies to reduce their tariffs for the transit operation, and as a result a number of companies offered preferential tariffs on ticket prices which amounted to 25%.

Operation Marhaba is one of a kind, he added, explaining that it requires mobilizing the necessary logistical means and combining the efforts of several actors so that MREs can travel in comfortable and safe conditions, that either by air or by sea.

That said, the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) has announced a special celebration to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the port of Tarifa as the Schengen external border, on July 25. The port has welcomed more than 20 million passengers over the past two decades, thus consolidating its position as the main connection point with Tangier.


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