Morocco’s National Office of Railways has pledged to invest MAD 16 billion ($1.56 billion) as part of the implementation of its “development plan.”
The office announced in a statement the launch of a tender for the acquisition of 168 trains, including 150 for urban transport services, covering high-speed commuter trains and intercity trains.
“Additionally, 18 trains are designated for extensions of the high-speed rail line,” SNRTNews quoted the ONCF statement as saying.
According to the ONCF, the objective is to tackle the increasing demand for train travel and to modernize part of the current aging train fleet.
The ONCF pledges, according to the communique, need an investment totaling MAD 16 billion, with the railway operator seeing it as a “real opportunity to establish a Moroccan rail industry system” that could have “significant economic and social impacts.”
For the railway authority, this includes creating “job opportunities” to strengthen Morocco’s industrial sector.
The ONCF’s announcement comes as part of a series of press releases that the railway operator made public to emphasize its commitment to boosting Morocco’s railway industry.
Last year in September, the office announced the same project, with the aim of identifying potential interested stakeholders.
The initiative, according to SNRTNews, resulted in 10 expressions of interest from international players in the railway industry.
The office is now progressing with the project by launching the bidding process, which focuses on three main components, including train acquisition with a delivery program spanning four years, and establishing a joint venture to provide ongoing maintenance services
In November 2022, ONCF signed a MAD 2.1 billion ($200 million) loan agreement with the European Investment Bank. The agreement represented 80% of an overall €250 million loan the bank offered to the ONCF.
“The remaining €50 million (527 million MAD) are planned for signing in 2023,” the bank said in its previous statement, emphasizing that the project is part of the Green Partnership with Morocco.
The bank explained that the loan will contribute to financing projects of the country’s program for the rehabilitation and upgrading of its railway network, including infrastructure, equipment, and industrial workshops.
Source: Morocco World News