Presentation of the Transport Sector


The transport sector provides in average 7% of the GDP. It directly employs 6% of the labor force, contributes about 15% of the State budget revenues and uses 40% of the national energy consumption. Depending on the year, it absorbs between 20 and 25% of the State investment’s general budget.

On the other hand, transport infrastructures in Morocco are quite developed and include the following:

_ A road transport network with the following characteristics:

- It covers 90% of people’s mobility and 75% of the goods transportation and products excluding


- It hosts the traffic of nearly 50 million cars-km a day;

- It covers more than 57,000 km among which 32 100 and about 800 km of highways including 6,000 structures 56% of which are bridges and 36% are box culverts.

_ A railways network, covering about 2,000 km carrying more than 35 million tons of goods and 25 million passengers every year;

_ 27 port cities and 30 ports to which in addition to the Tanger-Med port which are spread over the 3,500

km of coast on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and handling an annual traffic of about 60 million tons of goods and the transport of the millions of people.

_ 15 national and international airports, annually catering for 7 million passengers and 51 million cargo tons, knowing that the 3 airports of Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir cover for about 90% of the entire



Transport Stakeholders


Le secteur des transports est caractérisé par l'existence de plusieurs intervenants aussi bien publics que The transport sector is characterized by the existence of several players, both public and private. It is managed by

the Ministry of Equipment and Transport (MET) which is the main body in charge of the administration and legislation design.

The road transport in Morocco is organized and managed by the Ministry through the following departments:

_ The Roads and Road Traffic Department (DRCR) is in charge of the maintenance and extension of the road network. This includes planning, definition of specifications and standards, provision and allocation of funds,

contracting, monitoring works and paying amounts due to contractors. Its mission is supported by FSR.

_ The Road Transportation Department (DTR) in charge of the administration of road transport activities. It includes two divisions, the Studies and Regulation Division and the Transportation Division.

_ The Department of the Road Transportation Safety (DSRT), in charge of the safety of road transports, the safety of vehicles and driving (driving licenses). It manages the technical control of vehicles and the training of drivers.

_ The Department of Studies, Planning and Coordination (DEPC) in charge of the transport sector’s information system, the planning and development of the sector and coordination between transportation modes.


Presentation of the Railway Transport


The Moroccan railways network covers 1,907 km including 1,537 single track lines (80%), 370 km double tracks (20%), 528 km service tracks and 201 km special connection lines from the national railway network to various companies.

53% of the network’s total length, or 1,003 km, is electrified with the continuous 3,000 Volts, while 904 km are diesel traction operated.

The Moroccan rail network can accommodate 160 km/h speeds. This network serves the Kingdom’s major cities and main ports, with the exception of Agadir in the south and Nador in the north.

The entire rail network in Morocco is managed and operated by the National Railways Office (ONCF) according to conditions defined by well set specifications. The Office was created by Dahir n° 1.63.225 dated

August 6, 1963. It is a public institution with industrial and commercial vocations, holding moral entity and financial autonomy.

The rolling stock is made up of 116 main-line locomotives, 90 shunting switchers, 14 motor-coach trains, 344 passenger cars offering 27,055 seats and 5,866 goods wagons with a capacity of 332,787 tons composing 230

trains daily serving 101 stations throughout the total network.


Engaged Reforms


The National Railways Office (ONCF) has witnessed since the middle of the nineties three distinct periods having marked its development process to set the basis for an efficient and effective transportation means:

_ Restructuring phase: ranging between 1994 and 2001, and was marked by the launch of an important restructuring and reorganization program to face a crisis situation that almost jeopardized the Office sustainability. Outcome: recovery of situation combined with rehabilitation operations of the production system.

_ Performance consolidation and managerial revamping: between 2002 and 2005, ONCF worked on completing the restructuring logic, based on orientations fixed in its corporate project for horizon year 2010 according to a well set strategic planning. It aimed at improving the railway positioning, enhancing

management methods and proceeding with the production system’s upgrading plan: renewing infrastructures, reinforcing safety installations, doubling tracks, building stations …

_ Development and Extension Phase: once the reorganization and performance settlement phase is over, ONCF engaged between 2005 and 2009 in a steady and sustained development phase. Objective: double

commercial results achieved in 2003, in order to serve 30 million passengers in 2010, carry 10 million tons of freight and 30 million tons of phosphates. In this framework, an important investment program was

designed worth of 1.65 billion Euros aiming at extending the network, increasing its capacity and improving railway services.

ONCF’s internal organization was mainly based on the technical railways operation, mainly infrastructure, equipment, operation, commercial activities and the financial and administrative services.

A new organization based on project centers (business units) was set up, mainly targeting passengers, freight and phosphates. This new organization aims at placing Customers at the core of the Company’s concerns, resuming the Company’s competitive spirit and reinforcing local management’s decision

making powers.

The institutional Reform was made through the adoption of Law n° 52.03 issued in 2004 which objectives were:

- To define the national railway network’s configuration and constitution;

- To liberalize the management of railway activities, which can be assigned to companies in the framework of franchises for the management of infrastructures or the operation of railway transport activities;

- To create the Moroccan Railways Company (SMCF), replacing the National Railways Office.

This Law also provided for:

- The possibility to extend the network, with the State franchising new lines in favor of private operators;  

- The possibility to develop Public/Private Partnerships between the future SMCF and operators interested by the existing network;

- Enhancing efficiency, autonomous management, SMCF competitiveness and its market-oriented strategy.


Results of Reforms and Freight Corridor


Reforms reduced the staff size and hence reduce costs. The number of employees dropped from 14,000 agents in 1995 to 8,960 agents at the end of 2005.

The State signed a program contract with ONCF with the following objectives:

_ Definition of performance indicators ;

_ Keeping a separate accounting system for the infrastructures management activity on the one hand, and the operation of transportation services on the other, with the execution of annual accounting audits by

specialized chartered accountants;

_ Initiation of public-private partnerships (subcontracting, in-sourcing, development of subsidiaries, franchising)

_ Reorganization and turnaround of ONCFs financial situation

We should also note that the Office engaged during the last decade structuring reforms aimed at improving the company’s performance and efficiency. Of the most important reforms we can cite:

_ Adoption of a vigorous “customer oriented” commercial strategy;

_ Implementation of a new organizational structure based on business units, now growing to take in consideration new challenges that need to be faced;

_ Outsourcing the Internal Retirement Fund to a specialized institution;

_ Modernizing Human Resources management mode in order to offer a better motivating and valorizing good performance;

_ Liberalization of railway transportation tariffs as of June 2002;

_ Improving the governance mode and rationalizing management methods;

_ Disengagement from related activities to better focus on business core activities.

Thanks to these efforts, the Office went well beyond the financial and management objectives defined in the Program Contracts signed with the State. It could improve different economic and financial indicators and

confirm encouraging results, while playing an essential role in vitalizing the country’s socioeconomic activity.

It operates at the level of the passengers market as well as of freight, and leads the sector’s structured companies in 2008 with about 28 million passengers and 32 million tons of freight.

The future seems promising for railway traffic, and more particularly for the transportation of containers (mainly from and to the Tanger-Med port compound), faced with major commercial and technical challenges

to generate important land exchanges between the Northern and Southern parts of the Kingdom constituting an important natural market for railways. Other opportunities have been offered by newly accessible markets thanks to the Taourirt-Nador connection and the launch of specific plans for the oil and

cereal sectors. Besides, the integrated service policy that will be deployed, mainly thanks to the logistical platforms network to be set up throughout the Kingdom’s main cities, will secure customers’ loyalty and offer the possibility to reach to other segments previously ignoring railways. An important action plan has been elaborated to reinforce and develop the freight activity.

Regional projects launched in this framework include the Maghreb-Europe “Freight Corridor”, which is the expression of an outspoken agreement where railway networks in Maghreb countries ally together to create the direct Trans-Maghreb connection for freight.

This project will connect the Mediterranean Tangiers port to Tunis and will cover a distance of 2,337 km crossing the three Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), and will enable economic operators to take profit on the one hand of the intrinsic benefits of railway techniques, and on the other of advantages directly related to the freight corridor such as:

_ The rapid conveyance of goods.

_ Creation of the single window.

As for the project evolution, and according to orientations of the Maghrebi Railways Transportation Committee (CTFM) and to recommendations of UIC’s World Exclusive Council which hopes to lay the first milestone towards the development of railways in the Maghreb region, a pre-study was recently conducted, mainly focusing on railways in the Maghreb area (North Western Africa) and the exploration of new opportunities.

Efforts are currently made by the Tunisian part in order to find resources required for the project and the situation will be presented in the framework of CTFM’s next meeting to be held in Libya.


Railways Development Plan and Funding


Among tools allocated for the achievement of the “customers” oriented strategic vision strongly adopted by ONCF, we can cite the railways development program covering the 2005-2009 period, for which a

subsequent budget of 1.65 billion Euros has been assigned. This program includes several types of large scope operations, aiming at the construction of a modern and more efficient network railway, a vital lever in the country’s socioeconomic take-off.

_ Upgrade the production system: renew tracks and catenaries, modernizing safety installations, line electrification and rehabilitation of rolling stock …

_ Modernization and construction of railway stations according to a program concerning forty stations providing them with modern architectural style and transforming them into real multifunctional and multi-service exchange and meeting areas.

_ Increase the network’s capacity by doubling tracks on the most solicited lines (about 200 km), and the acquisition of new trains and engines and locomotives, as well as reuse passengers’ cars (50% increase of

seats) …

_ Extension of the network in favor of economic poles not connected to the Kingdom’s Eastern (Taourirt- Nador: 117 km) and Northern regions (railway line between Tangiers new port –Tangier-Med: 47 km

combined with a shortcut (Sidi Yahia-Macherâa Bel Ksir: 50 km) and the electrification of this line (1:30 h time saving between Casablanca and Tangier).

In the framework of the strategic trajectory extension by horizon year 2015, a new development cycle for the Office will be supported by an ambitious investment program that will certainly result in the considerable

improvement of railway services in a continuity dynamics. This program, now being discussed with the public authorities in the framework of the next State-ONCF Contract Program focuses on three types of operations:

The first type of operations covers major railway projects with considerable impact aiming at sustaining and boosting the sector’s competitive aspects. This mainly concerns:

_ The launch of a mega project concerning the first TGV line in Morocco connecting Tangier to Casablanca (1st section covering 200 km: operation speed: 320 km). The very high speed trains will later be connected onto an already existing line to continue their itinerary to Casablanca. The execution of the first section will reduce travel time between Casablanca and Tangier to 2:30 h and between Rabat-Tangier to 1:30 h. This project which is expected to start towards the end of 2009 and to operate in 2015 requires

a budget of 1.83 Milliards Euros,

_ A project to increase the capacity of the Casablanca–Kenitra central line in order to take most profit of the TGVM project and release capacities to face the expected container traffic to be generated by the new Tangier-Med Port;

_ The partial doubling of the South Line (66 km) now single-tracked, and now almost saturated, but consequently requires the increase of its capacity to best respond to continuous increasing traffic demand;

_ Continuity of the modernization program and the construction of railway stations based on a new valorizing concept as multi-service and multi-functional terminals.

As for the second type of operations, it aims at improving the rail’s logistical competitiveness by marketing a wide range of services best responding to economic operators’ expectations. The main projects covered by

this type of operations:

_ Execution of an important program of multi-modal logistical platforms, including the construction of a dry ports network throughout various large distribution and consumption sites in Morocco, which would constitute multi-modal railway terminals and the development of Logistic Activity Zones (ZAL) connected with the dry ports;

_ Reinforcement of freight logistics by serving various production areas and units, the construction of special connections and renewing the rolling stock;

_ Reinforcement of the “phosphate” logistics to support OCP holding in its development policy, by providing it with the necessary logistics and fulfilling its needs.

The third type of operations concerns projects aiming at enhancing mobility and permanent transport, by efficiently acting on the component related to the railway offer, and hence ensure the sustainability of the transportation system: rehabilitation of the rolling stock, renovation and improvement of stations,

modernizing and promoting urban transportation …

In addition to this investment program, ONCF will reposition in urban transports, as in the case of Casablanca RER Project (63 km), according to specific approaches preserving its financial balance. The best technical and

financial means will be investigated in order to achieve the project in the best conditions for all stakeholders:

juridical and institutional aspects, financial set-up, sequence pertinence …




Technical specifications used by ONCF for the infrastructure, the rolling stock and maintenance, are based on UIC standards, EN standards, ORE (environment), ISO standards and CEI standards.




_ Branch tracks : 170

_ Number of stations : 103

_ Number of sub-stations : 38

_ Railway bridges : 385 out of a total length of 12,300 lm

_ Tunnels : 29 of a total length of 19,934 lm

_ Highway bridges: 105 of a total length of 2,152 lm.




_ 120 km of BAL equipped lines (Luminous automatic blocks),

_ 320 km of BM equipped lines (manual blocks),

_ 605 km of BAPR equipped lines (aromatic blocks with retrained permissiveness),

_ 10 PAI (computer switching stations).




_ Electrical,

_ Diesel.


Rolling Stock


_ Line electrical locomotives: 97

_ Line diesel locomotives: 41

_ Diesel shunting locomotives: 90

_ 3-car motor coach train: 14

_ Two-level motor coach train: 24

_ Passengers’ train cars: 294

_ Generator car: 34

_ Phosphates wagons: 6,200.


Traffic Operation and Management: Use of a computerized system


Maintenance: performed according to annual and five-year long programs.


Railway Safety


Morocco does not have any national authority in charge of railway safety. The single institution in charge of railway transport is the National Railways Office and is responsible for safety management under the authority of the Ministry of Equipment and Transport. Within this Office, there is the Safety General

Inspection in charge of assessing the network’s safety, identification of major residual risks, and advising

Departments in the definition of the main safety improvement orientations.

It defines the Office’s general safety policy along with all concerned departments. It performs safety audits at its own initiative or at the request of the General Management or any of other department concerned by

safety. Its field of action involves the two following safety aspects:

_ Safety of traffic, transported people and carried products and goods;

_ Safety of ONCF’s personnel and employees.

Investigations of railway related accidents are conducted by ONCF. The operational departments and the General Safety Inspection contribute to investigations by jointly designing an accident report


source: Status Report on the Implementetion of RTAP