Rabat – As the United Kingdom braces for a post-Brexit economy, British newspapers increasingly see the new direct shipping route between the UK and Morocco as some sort of salvation.
The freight ferry service will travel between Poole in Dorset, England, and Tanger Med in northern Morocco. The news of the UK-Morocco shipping route has been confirmed by Poole Harbour Commissioners.
The service will reportedly cut the journey for goods traveling between Britain and Morocco to fewer than three days, compared to the six days it took before. Poole Harbour Commissioners explained that the route will “help bypass post-Brexit traffic congestion and additional import procedures on goods arriving via Europe.”
Until now, maritime trade between the two countries took place via two crossings, a shipping route from the UK to Spain followed by a journey from Spain to Morocco.
Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, explained that “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 a very welcome alternative to the increasing complexity of trading with Europe.”
There is hope for UK yet
As 2020 came to a close, it also brought the end to years of drawn-out negotiations on how the UK will proceed in the post-Brexit world. At 11 p.m. local time, London officially became the capital of a non-EU state.
While many observers have been critical of the UK’s move to withdraw from the EU, others have noted that it could be a good opportunity to do “things differently,” as Chancellor Michael Gove said.
In 2019, the two countries signed an “Association Agreement” to ensure that their relationship does not break down, but rather strengthens, when the UK leaves the EU. The United Kingdom has signed many such agreements to ensure that leaving the Union does not crash their economy. Most recently, Ghana and the UK signed a trade agreement worth $1.6 billion (MAD 14 billion).
Read also: Post-Brexit UK Could Find Hope in Morocco
The Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Stephanie Al Qas, said in February 2020 that the UK is looking forward to developing its bilateral relations with Morocco in several fields.
She said the Association Agreement not only guarantees the partnership between the two countries post-Brexit, but serves as the first step for unprecedented growth in bilateral cooperation.
Despite the seemingly-promising future, will the new route really be enough to help the UK overcome the consequences of leaving one of the world’s biggest free-trade zones? Despite the British media’s optimism, it remains to be seen.