The port reform made in Marseilles-Fos and measures implemented to strengthen maritime trade between Tunisia and the port of Marseilles were the focus of a meeting organized by the Tunisian-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 50% of goods arriving in France by sea are unloaded in a foreign port. The port reform aims to increase the competitiveness of French ports in the service of the French economy. This meeting was an opportunity to review the relations between Tunisia and France in particular in the transport sector, which are very rich and naturally all the more important that, under the 11th Plan, Tunisian projects are very interesting. Remember that Tunisia is the 2nd international partner of the port in terms of cargo traffic with 1,153,000 T at the 3rd quarter of 2010, i.e. a growth of 16%. For ro-ro traffic, a rise of 18% in the volume of goods was recorded during the same period, i.e. 983,000 tons. As regards passenger traffic (excluding cruises), Tunisia is the second partner, with nearly 211,000 passengers during the 3rd quarter of 2010, achieving an average progress of 3.3% per year since 2000. These are convincing figures that require the multiplication of efforts to increase the competitiveness of French ports and boost foreign trade especially as the Office of Shipping and Ports, the OMMP and the seaport of Marseille have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and the fluidity of a sea highway between the ports of Radés and Marseilles. This approach reflects the common desire to establish a commercial bridge going beyond maritime boundaries to bring together stakeholders in the transport chain between Europe and North Africa in a first initiative of its kind.
From a strategic standpoint, these highways are part of the line of the EuroMed Transport Project which aims to facilitate cooperation between the 12 Mediterranean partner countries in order to support the development of the future Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and promote regional economic integration. This agreement is the first of its kind to bring together, between Europe and the Maghreb, all professionals of the transport sector. The sea link between Marseille and Radés was selected in October 2008 as a pilot program as part of the Euro-Mediterranean transport program MEDAMOS. According to Marseilles-Fos Port manager Dirk Becquart, the sea highway “Marseille-Radés,” is an important step for the development of trade ties between the two countries.