Maritime & Marine

Published: March 5, 2021 | Updated: March 31, 2021

‘Brexit buster’ direct shipping link announced between ‘can-do’ Port of Poole and Morocco

The Port of Poole which is one of the largest trust ports in the UK.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A ‘Brexit buster’ direct shipping route linking Poole and Morocco in North Africa is to be launched within the next few months.

It will be the first operated by new shipping company, United Seaways, and has been planned for more than two years.

The new service will be based out of the Port of Poole and will operate to and from the Port of Tangiers.

It will run once a week and will cut journey times on Moroccan goods to fewer than three days, compared to more than six days via road.

The route has been established to help bypass post-Brexit traffic congestion and additional import procedures on goods arriving via Europe.

Emissions will be cut significantly when compared to current logistic chains by road.

The new link will provide an alternative route for exporters from Morocco and Africa currently using road networks to the UK via Europe.

It will avoid two ferry crossings – Morocco to Spain and then North Europe to the UK – and also the new, lengthy Brexit bureaucracy.

Captain Brian Murphy, pictured left, Marine and Port Director at Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: “We are very excited to be hosting United Seaways’ brand-new roll-on-roll-off ferry service.

“It will reduce the time taken for goods to arrive by half and will see significant environmental benefits by reducing road freight.

“This is an exciting opportunity for UK, Moroccan and African importers and exporters, who are looking to develop existing and establish new business relationships.

“We will work closely with United Seaways to ensure this service is a huge success.

“With our high customer satisfaction levels, skilled workforce and ample operational space, the Port of Poole is ideally set up to receive both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.

“To avoid unnecessary disruptions, we work closely with UK Border Control, Port Health, and the Animal & Plant Health Agency to ensure that all the necessary checks are carried out as efficiently as possible right here on the Port estate.

“We are the ‘can-do’ port and look forward to supporting the future growth of the UK import and export market.”

Zeyd Fassi Fehri, Managing Director, United Seaways, said: “Our aim is to support businesses with post-Brexit, supply chain challenges and opportunities.

“This service will create a sustainable and environmental alternative when launched in the coming months.

“The speed and efficiency of the vessel ensures a longer shelf life for fresh products whilst reducing road congestion, tolls and additional import procedures that have arisen since Brexit.”

Nigel Jenney, pictured right, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, said: “Any solution that makes imports more effective, or eases trading with alternative countries, may well be a great opportunity for helping the UK source fresh produce from around the world.

“I anticipate a strong demand for this new direct roro service.

“The route offers a rapid service and avoids the additional tariff complications of trading via the EU since the beginning of the year.

“At this challenging time, it’s very welcome alternative to the increasing complexity of trading with Europe.”

The new service will be used to encourage British importers to source fresh produce and other products directly from Morocco and Africa.

It will also facilitate exports from the UK to Morocco and Africa.

The UK and the Kingdom of Morocco have a free trade agreement in place.

Under the agreement consumers in the UK benefit from lower prices on goods imported from Morocco, such as fruit and vegetables.

Consumers in Morocco see lower tariffs on products including dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables from the UK.

United Seaways Ltd was incorporated in December 2020.

Its mission is to create and develop British businesses through new seaways between the UK and strategic destinations.

The company’s website states: “United Seaways is a company created through the desire to simplify transportation, beginning with trade to and from the UK.

“We are a team of specialists from the maritime, freight, transport and commerce sectors combining over 100 years of experience.”