The contest aims to identify innovators or startups that can creatively solve some of the most recurrent issues port practitioners face in Morocco.
Rabat – To solve some of the port sector’s persisting, daily issues, Morocco’s port authorities are calling on the country’s startup community to take part in a national contest to develop innovative solutions to ease port activities.
Smart Port Challenge is a joint initiative of Morocco’s National Ports Agency (ANP) and PortNet, a platform that seeks to improve the business partnership between the government and the private sector. ANP and PortNet launched the contest in collaboration with the “Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.”
The contest invites the participation of “anyone with the capacity for innovation and the skills to design and propose solutions to meet the challenges of the port sector.”
The contest seeks to identify individual innovators or startups with the ability to creatively solve some of the most recurrent issues port practitioners face in Morocco.
The contest will revolve around three main themes, including sustainable development, environmental protection, and energy transition; performance, logistic fluidity, and trade facilitation; and continuity of port service and availability of infrastructure.
All “selected winners” will benefit from an incubation program or business support, allowing them to start their entrepreneurial journey. The support comes with the financial means and the professional mentorship winners would need to transform their winning project from a prototype to a real-world experiment.
The contest’s organizers noted, “If the selected winners already have a product and seek to develop it, Morocco will become their new ground for testing and implementation.”
The contest will open on December 18, and the deadline for submitting projects is set for January 24, 2021. The winners will be announced on January 29, 2021.
According to organizers, the contest will primarily task participants with imagining solutions aimed at accelerating electronic payment procedures in port trading.
Other challenges include developing innovative solutions to simplify but further secure the obtention of the certificate of origin for products, as well as the forecasting of seabed changes.
“Artificial intelligence, the BlockChain, data analysis and Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), UAVs, immersion technologies (VR and AR), all these technologies are to be considered by the participants,” said organizers.
The news comes as Morocco strives to increase its port sector’s competitiveness and attractiveness.
Often dubbed a “gateway to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East,” the North African country is putting considerable efforts into cementing its reputation as a business hub.
With its Tanger Med Port having established itself as a continental leader, Morocco now seeks to make its southern provinces a feted trade and investment hub.
“The Atlantic coast to the south of the Kingdom, bordering the Moroccan Sahara, will serve as an area for the achievement of economic complementarity as well as continental and international prominence,” King Mohammed VI said in his latest Green March speech earlier this month. “In addition to Tanger-Med, which is the [leading] port in Africa, Dakhla Atlantique will contribute to reaching this goal.”