The Tom Sawyer docked in Malaga port. SUR
Drought crisis in Malaga province leads to more imported vegetables from Morocco
Drought crisis

Drought crisis in Malaga province leads to more imported vegetables from Morocco

The shipping line that connects Malaga city with Tangier-Med is being bolstered with a cargo vessel with greater capacity for the autumn period

Ignacio Lillo

Monday, 9 October 2023


The drought situation, high temperatres and the decrease in the local production of vegetables have made it necessary to increase the import of fresh foodstuffs from Morocco to Malaga by ship.

The freight line that connects the Malaga capital with Tangier-Med is being bolstered with a cargo vessel with greater capacity to meet the needs of the autumn period. It is expected that the entry of fruit and vegetable products by sea will increase by up to 40% over the course of this month.

The vessel Tom Sawyer began operating on Thursday, replacing the 'Friedrich Russ, which inaugurated the line and had been operating since last March. This marks the beginning of the second phase of the project to commercially link the two shores, which is being carried out by the Malaga-based company Marítima Peregar. It goes from a pure roll on-roll off vessel, which could carry a maximum of 12 drivers; to a cargo and passenger ship, with capacity for up to 125 people on board.

Joaquín Pérez-Muñoz, of the operator Marítima Peregar, said that the decision to bolster the route responds to the fact that the new fruit and vegetable season demands a greater capacity for self-propelled vehicles. "We have received the message from all the agents that for this season, which starts in October, taking into account the serious drought, we are going to need more imports of fruit and vegetable products", the businessman said.

This has been requested by the main producers and importers of agricultural products from the Axarquía, who have shown their interest in using this line for the new season due to the lack of local production. Usually, this traffic operated via Algeciras, although now part of the imports are being carried out via the Malaga route, which goes directly to Malaga city and the Costa del Sol as one of the main consumer centres. "This is possible because the port already has regular services from Monday to Sunday, to be able to attend to the demand for traffic," said Pérez-Muñoz.

In the first phase of the implementation plan for the line between Malaga and Tangier-Med, up to now, some 28 vehicles have been moving per day in each direction. "We hope to reach at least 80 units in rotation (40 per trip) by October, which will mean an increase of 35 to 40% immediately," Pérez-Muñoz said.

In addition to the increased transit of foodstuffs, the other two usual products that travel on this route, will continue: textiles, with fabric reels to Morocco and completed garments to Malaga; and automotive components destined for Renault's Moroccan factory.

The president of Malaga's Port Authority, Carlos Rubio, said the increase in traffic marked the beginning of "a very important campaign in Morocco".

Rubio added that the availability of the Tom Sawyer ship also opens up the possibility, in the near future, of carrying passengers between Malaga and Tangiers, and he is confident that this will be possible before next summer.

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