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Morocco: Transportation and Telecommunications
Country Study > Transportation and Telecommunications

TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS


Overview: Morocco’s transportation system is in need of renewal. Accordingly, in December 2005 Morocco obtained a loan of US$286 million from the African Development Bank to finance wide-ranging institutional reforms of the transport sector. The reforms, which entail physical improvements to the nation’s roads, ports, airports, and railroads, are designed to increase safety and reduce costs across the entire transport system. Reforms are being carried out in the spirit of market liberalization, implying a diminished state role and a larger role for the private sector.

Roads: Morocco’s road network needs improvement. Congestion is a concern, as is accessibility in rural areas. The system encompasses 57,694 kilometers of roads, 32,551 kilometers of which are paved. Between 1995 and 2005, the World Bank partially funded the paving or upgrading from dirt to gravel of 10,000 kilometers of roads. By 2015 it plans to do the same for an additional 15,000 kilometers. By 2009 Morocco hopes to complete construction of a highway linking the cities of Marrakesh and Agadir. As of the end of 2001, Morocco had 1.25 million passenger cars, 431,000 trucks, and slightly more than 20,000 motorcycles and scooters.

Railroads: The National Railroad Office manages Morocco’s 1,907-kilometer rail network, generally regarded as substantially below Western standards. Some 1,003 kilometers of track are electrified. Rolling stock includes 213 locomotives. In 2003 Morocco’s railroads carried approximately 16.5 million passengers.

Ports: Casablanca is Morocco’s principal port, but by international standards it handles relatively modest volumes of container traffic. In 2003 Casablanca ranked 127th in the world in container throughput. Other major ports are Mohammedia, Jorf Lasfar, Agadir, and Nador. Morocco is pursuing a ports reform and modernization program to make the port system internationally competitive. In addition, Morocco plans to build a new super-port of Tangier-Mediterranean by 2007. This new facility, located on the southern side of the Strait of Gibraltar, is already under construction. It is designed to accommodate tankers, container ships, passenger ferries, and high-speed craft.

Inland Waterways: Morocco has no navigable inland waterways. Its rivers are primarily used for irrigation.

Civil Aviation and Airports: Morocco has 60 airports, 25 of which have paved runways. The main international airports are located in Casablanca, Tangier, and Agadir. Royal Air Maroc, the national airline, has a fleet of 37 aircraft, mostly manufactured by Boeing. During fiscal year 2004, the airline carried 3.7 million passengers.

Pipelines: Morocco has 695 kilometers of natural gas pipelines and 285 kilometers of oil pipelines. A pipeline carrying natural gas from Algeria to Spain and Portugal traverses Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Telecommunications: Morocco is in the midst of a campaign to deregulate and liberalize the telecommunications industry. In 2001 the country’s national telecommunications operator, Maroc Télécom (MT), was privatized. A Paris-based international media and telecommunications company owns a majority stake in MT. Following its privatization, MT was deprived of its monopoly control over fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services. A Spanish-Portuguese joint-venture company competes with MT for both types of service. Although Morocco’s telephone system uses modern technology, fixed-line service is relatively underdeveloped; in 2004 only 1.3 million inhabitants used fixed-line telephone service, about 4 percent of the population. By contrast, Morocco had more than 9.3 million mobile phone users the same year, representing about 30 percent of the population. Morocco had 3.5 million Internet users in 2005, but the Internet is expensive to access and lags well behind the telephone in popularity. Moroccans own 3.1 million television sets and 6.6 million radios.




Last Updated: May 2006


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Morocco was first published in 2006. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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