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Italy’s Economic Diplomacy, 27 November: latest news from the world

Morocco steps up its national railway network development

Morocco’s railway network development plan includes both projects for new standard lines (2,743 km) and high-speed lines (1,500 km). Moreover, the Country also intends to upgrade Casablanca’s regional railway network. According to the figures published by the Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF), in 2016 the Moroccan railway network was used by 39 million travellers and to transport approximately 28 million tons of freight. The Board of Directors of the ONCF approved a budget for 2017 containing investments for 7.13 billion dirhams (645 million euros), 29% of which destined to the high-speed line and the remaining 71% to modernise standard railway lines. According to the ONCF, 2017 will close with a 3.3% rise in passenger transport and a 2.3% increase in freight transport. Mid-2018 is the date set for opening the line connecting Tangier to Casablanca, via Rabat and Kenitra, in 2 hours and 10 minutes: it is the first high-speed railway connection in the African continent whose construction work is already 90% completed. In the future, the ONCF will also place an order for the supply of 120 double-deck electric trains, phasing the purchase over a period of 15 years.