The state of emergency affected the country’s transport activities due to preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Rabat – The number of passengers that took Morocco’s National Railways Office (ONCF) trains stood at 9.4 million during the first half of 2020, counting figures from before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The number represents a decrease of 44% compared to the same period of 2019.
The ONCF generated a turnover of MAD 409 million ($45 million), representing a decline of 43% compared to the end of June 2019, according to an ONCF press release quoted by Morocco’s state media.
Morocco’s railway office acknowledged that the COVID-19 health crisis has had a “significant” impact on the activities of its fleet and on the rail offer, lowering the turnover generated by passenger activity on its trains.
The pandemic affected to a lesser extent the relative freight traffic and transport of products whose sectors were shut down.
The ONCF said that freight activity, excluding phosphate, generated a revenue of MAD 251 million ($27.5 million) at the end of June. The number represents a decrease of 3% compared to the first half of 2019, corresponding to a transport volume of four million tonnes of various goods.
Receipts from the transport of phosphates amounted to MAD 632 million ($69.4 million) during the first half of the year, representing a decline of 4% compared to the end of June 2019. The difference translates to 7.9 million tonnes.
The ONCF suspended most travel on its trains on March 23 after Morocco announced a state of emergency to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The railway office announced, however, that rail freight transport will remain operative to transport vital goods.
With lockdown easing, the ONCF announced a new schedule, taking into account preventive measures to ensure safety of citizens and staff.
The country is still under state of emergency until September 10. Morocco extended the measure several times due to the continued increase of cases.
Morocco recorded 62,590 cases, including 47,595 recoveries and 1,141 deaths, since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in March.