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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
11/09/17 08:49

North Africa bad and good for Spanish ferries

Morocco denies Baleària a long term authorization for its link to Nador. Trasmediterranea obtained the contract for the public service to Melilla

Baleària was unexpectedly denied a long term authorization for its link to Nador, Morocco.

The Spanish private ferry line had already announced a sailing schedule from Almeria up to January 2018 when the Rabat Government specified that authorisation was released only for the summer season and therefore services have to cease on 15 September.

Another Spanish private ferry line, Armas, which suffered the same fate for its lines from Motril and Almeria to Morocco managed to continue services with authorisation being received on a day-to-day base.

Seemingly the North African Kingdom wants to balance traffic between compatriot and European operators, and so it is reluctant to authorise foreign operators for long term authorisations as this could impact on any Moroccan line starting its service; but since at present there are no Moroccan lines operating after the latest bankruptcy affected IMTC, the situation is that one of a possible void of service.

However Acciona Trasmediterranea still holds 3 permanent authorizations respectively in the names of subsidiaries  Ferrimaroc and Euroferrys, and on its own name, while Attica controlled Africa Morocco Link (AML), which stated interest in operating the service, has not filed any start-up date.

Meanwhile still from Morocco came the newsthat Trasmediterranea, as indeed  expected, was awarded a Public Service Contract (PSC) to Melilla, starting November, for 2 years. The PSC requires daily services between Malaga and Almeria to Melilla, operating to an agreed schedule with continued use of 1,809-lanemetre, 1,000-passenger sister ferries Sorolla and Fortuny.

Baleària was competing for the PSC and submitted a bid based on receiving 14 million euro funding to carry it out  while Trasmediterranea did not ask any subsidy; it is still to be seen whether Baleària will launch a claim into the whole bidding process. By its side Armas, which operates regularly to Melilla from Motril, withdrew from the bidding process as Motril was not considered in the PSC.