Moroccan ONCF buys Alstom’s locomotives
The national Moroccan rail company ONCF has acquired 30 electrical locomotives and its spares, to the French manufacturer Alstom for 1.4 billion Moroccan Dirhams (123 million Euros) in January 2018. This operation has been funded with a loan of the French State, which has a 10-year grace period and a 40-year term.
The locomotives have automatic support driving systems and can achieve a speed of 180 kilometres per hour. They will strength the freight and passenger connectivity among the mentioned cities and Tangier port. This purchase is a first step in a very ambitious project to modernise the rail and passenger freight services from Tangier port and Marrakech; from Marrakech to Casablanca; from Kenitra to Casablanca; and from Tangier to Casablanca. These cities are the main Moroccan development axis.
The Moroccan government bet on developing the region of Tangier – Tetuan – Al Hoceima, in the Gibraltar straight, trying to attract international investors for manufacturing areas and to reduce logistic costs for its agricultural exports, whose main clients are the European countries.
This decision was a historic change, after outlining this area for a long time because of the pro-independence vindications of many political leaders, especially in the Rif area. Most of its population is Tamazight speaking and it was colonised by Spain from 1912 to 1955, experiencing different social trends regards to the rest of the country, which was colonised by France and where the population is mostly Arabic speaking.