Logistics company United Seaways plans to launch a new ‘Brexit buster’ direct shipping route that will connect the UK and Morocco.
The route, which will link Poole in Dorset to Tangier, has been in planning for more than two years and will help bypass post-Brexit traffic congestion and additional import procedures on goods arriving via Europe, United Seaways said.
This connection will also significantly reduce emissions compared to current logistic chains by road. It will run once per week and cut journey times on Moroccan goods to fewer than three days, compared to more than six days via road.
“Our aim is to support businesses with post-Brexit, supply chain challenges and opportunities. This service will create a sustainable and environmental alternative when launched in the coming months,” Zeyd Fassi Fehri, MD United Seaways, said. “The speed and efficiency of the vessel ensures a longer shelf life for fresh products whilst reducing road congestion, tolls and additional import procedures that have arisen since Brexit.”
The route currently includes two ferry crossings – one from Morocco to Spain and one from North Europe to UK – but the new link will avoid the associated bureaucratic Brexit procedures and the time delays the other crossings face.
It will also be used to encourage British importers to source fresh produce and other products directly from Morocco and Africa, promoting southbound trade and scaleup exchanges between the two kingdoms, which have a long-standing history of more than 800 years.
“This is an exciting opportunity for UK, Moroccan and African importers and exporters, who are looking to develop existing and establish new business relationships,” Captain Brian Murphy, Marine and Port Director at Poole Harbour Commissioners, said. Other than machinery, vehicles and clothing, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts are among the top imports from the African nation. Tomato imports from Morocco have grown 25%, and pears also have been increasing.
Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, said: “Any solution that makes imports more effective, or eases trading with alternative countries, may well be a great opportunity for helping the UK source fresh produce from around the world.
“I anticipate a strong demand for this new direct roro service. 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.”