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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
29/08/17 09:24

A newcomer ferry operator in the Straits of Gibraltar

Morocco-based Detroit World Logistics Maritime will deploy its first vessel Le Rif starting next September on the route Tangier Med – Algeciras

A new maritime transportation operator is preparing to enter the Straits of Gibraltar: Detroit World Logistic Maritime (DWLM), founded in March 2016 with a capital of 20 Million DH, claiming to be a 100% Moroccan company - the company is a member of the Rahmouni/ El Ghazoui group - will begin its first maritime rotations between the ports of Tangier Med and Algeciras with the refurbished vessel Le Rif starting next September.

Before commencing its new employment the ferry was entrusted to the care of shiprepair company Jobson Italy, part of the homonymous international group, based in La Spezia, which is completing an intensive refitting in Naples.

Built in 1980 in Northern Ireland, Le Rif is 130 meters long and can carry 1,000 passengers and 280 cars. Originally operated by British company Sealink and then by Stena, respectively with the names of Galloway Princess and Stena Galloway, the ferry was given the current name in 2002, along with the passage under Moroccan company International Maritime Transport Corporation (IMTC) , then failed in 2013. Since then, Le Rif has been laid up initially at Tanger Med port and then in Malaga until 2016, when DWLM has bought it at auction for just 1 million euro.

According to Hakim Rahmouni, CEO of the company and head of the Rahmouni / El Ghazoui group, described as a discrete businessman active in the field of logistics with the group FLM specialized in transportation for the construction industry but also active in agriculture with citrus farms in Gharb, DWLM is ambitious. “We are also planning to launch a Nador-Almeria link as soon as we find a suitable vessel. Indeed, at present, the market is not to the advantage of buyers: the offer is scarce and prices have clearly outbid, assisted in this by the increase in demand and especially the exaggerated prices of newbuildings”.

“At present you have to pay an average of between 70 and 100 million euro, which places this type of investment out of reach even of large organization, in addition to long delivery times” explains Mohamed Bilal, director of commercial development of the newco.

“The alternative for us is chartering, which is still very expensive with an average of 17,000 euro per day equivalent to 180,000 DH going abroad in foreign currency, an aberration” adds Rahmouni.

“For Le Rif, the operation remains affordable. DWLM paid 11 million DH (1 million euro) for its purchase but had to disburse nearly 70 million DH (6 million euro) for its refurbishment”.

Company officials say they are optimistic about the profitability of the operation and are considering starting to become beneficiaries by the fourth year, the secret being the high proportion of self-financing reaching 85%, according to DWLM. “We believe that despite the multitude of players at the level of the Strait, there is always room for a Moroccan operator” said Rahmouni, for whom the TIR transport market remains very large and growing, especially with the development of the industrial sector in the country.



Arkas investing in Morocco too

Philippe A starts cabotage run in feedering   


Arkas Maroc (a subsidiary of Arkas Shipping) has founded Maroc Feedering which will perform domestic tonnage feedering & operations within Morocco under the national flag.

The Philippe A, capable of 900 TEUs, has been purchased by Maroc Feedering to this effect and has started shuttling between Tangiers – Casablanca. Owing to seasonal reefer requirements, a call at Agadir is planned to be added to the rotation in October.

Launched in anticipation of Tangier Med doubling its capacity over the next two years, this is, significantly, the first cabotage open to all carriers.

Angelo Scorza