Consolidating its Maghreb presence
With its jubilee behind it (page 22, Maghreb Special, ITJ 17-18 / 2016), the St Gallen-based Swiss firm Militzer & Münch is continuing to develop its long-established activities in the region. The ITJ’s Jutta Iten interviewed Olivier Antoniotti, managing director of M & M Maroc, about its progress in 2016 and its plans for the future.
How did 2016 go for your company?
We finished our last year well, in general, despite some difficult economic developments. We increased volumes in all of our products and transport routes (sea, air and logistics). These results are the fruit of the good work of our commercial and technical teams in a strong network; in the groupage segment, for instance, we have more than 20 lines a week from Europe to and from our platforms in Casablanca and Tangiers.
Let’s talk about Tangiers – how are things going there, a year after the new platform went into operation?
We’ve celebrated our first anniversary there, and are pleased. Growth came to more than 20% in 2016. The new logistics base is perfect for the economic development in the region. Thanks to our investment we can now offer our overland and maritime transport services from there, as well as warehousing, customs clearance and transit options. Another benefit is the centre’s proximity to the Tangiers free-trade zone, which makes rapid turnarounds possible. The beginning of 2017 has confirmed 2016’s results so far.
So it was money well spent?
In Morocco we’ve invested very actively in the construction of our platforms in Casablanca (2003), Nouaceur (2012), and more recently in Tangiers (2016). Despite their substantial size, these investments contribute strongly to growth in Casablanca and in Tangiers. M & M Maroc has worked for its long-term presence with efficient local structures whose profitability will come into their own in the medium to long term.
What are your core activities?
Transport – or to put it more precisely, groupage transport – continues to dominate our business activity (it still accounts for 65% of turnover). Five years ago the figure stood at 95%. Today we offer sea and air transport solutions as part of our supply chain services too, as well as logistics and transit options and customs clearance services – through our subsidiary Spedimex Maroc.
Are there any concrete new projects in the pipeline?
We think we can meet the demands of our customers with the structures we already have in place. An important task for 2017 is to pay more attention to the human factor, both by strengthening our team and also by beefing up IT support, which obviously benefits our customers directly. We also want to improve our communications, in addition to strengthening our presence in social networks. In support of this strategy, by the way, we’ve established a new marketing and communications department. Finally, we will continue to pursue our qualification efforts, to bring our ISO 9001 certification up to the 2015 level, and acquire OEA safety certification for the official Moroccan customs authority.
What has changed in the transport and logistics sector in Morocco since 2016?
You can’t help but take note of all of the government’s efforts in the sector – in the port of Tanger Med; in the development of the road network; a forthcoming high-speed railway; free-trade zones, amongst many other valuable projects. Even its digitalisation efforts are making good progress, as is its Portnet system. Associations are additionally developing, and becoming reliable partners for the government of Morocco.
Are you still optimistic about the future of the industry in Morocco?
There have been many encouraging signs since the start of 2017. Thanks to the high level of investments in the automobile and air cargo industries, amongst many others, a powerful dynamic has become tangible in the local and regional markets. In short – we remain optimistic regarding the economic development of the kingdom of Morocco in the years to come.