Strait of Gibraltar
Institutional Agreement on the Study of Transport Flows Between Europe and Africa in Relation to the Project for a Fixed Link Between Spain and Morocco
- An agreement has been signed that will allow for the development of an observatory of socioeconomic data and transport flows in the Strait of Gibraltar
- The agreement was signed by three parties: the state companies of Spain and Morocco responsible for the fixed link (SECEGSA and SNED), and CETMO
The partnership agreement between Sociedad Española de Estudios para la Comunicación Fija a Través del Estrecho de Gibraltar, S.M.E., S.A. (SECEGSA), Société Nationale d’Études du Détroit de Gibraltar (SNED) and Centre d’Études des Transports pour la Mediterranee Occidentale (CETMO) was signed on 8 August at the Madrid headquarters of SECEGSA. The representatives of the three parties were the following: Ángeles Alastrué Campo, Executive Chairwoman of SECEGSA; Khalid Cherkaoui, Chairman and CEO of SNED, and Òscar Oliver Cristià, General Director for CETMO.
SECEGSA and SNED are the Spanish and Moroccan state companies, respectively, that are carrying out the studies and planning the fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar, the infrastructure that will join the transport networks of Europe and Africa in the future. CETMO is an organization that promotes cooperation in the area of transport between the European and Maghreb countries of the Western Mediterranean. Establishing cooperation between the three parties will contribute to the development of an observatory on the Strait, which will make it possible to obtain and disseminate important information on transport between the two continents and information with special relevance for planning the fixed link.
Purpose of the Agreement
The purpose of the agreement is to establish a collaborative structure for collecting, using, analysing and disseminating information on socioeconomic matters and aspects relating to transport infrastructure that channels relations between Europe and Africa, and on the flows of goods and passengers between the two continents.
More specifically, this partnership will lead to the definition of the information requirements of this data observatory and of the strategies for disseminating it by means of analytical documents that set out the main transport-flow trends, socioeconomic conditions and development of infrastructure in the area of influence of the Strait of Gibraltar.
These tasks will make a major contribution to the future definition of flow forecasts between the two continents; these forecasts will be essential to the process of planning and designing the fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Fixed Link as a Connection Between Transport Corridors
The future construction of a fixed link between Spain and Morocco through the Strait of Gibraltar would not only mean linking the two countries but would enable the physical continuity of the transport corridors on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.
On the northern side, it would provide the Trans-European Transport Network (essentially the Mediterranean corridor but also the Atlantic corridor) with continuity, while on the southern side, it would connect with the Trans-Maghreb Multimodal Axis.
This infrastructure would provide the entire Western Mediterranean region with high-performance transport networks that would facilitate trade and passenger transport between the countries of the region.
Throughout the 20th century, different technical solutions were considered for the design and execution of the fixed link, especially options such as the construction of a suspension bridge between the two continents and the excavation of an undersea tunnel - the most technically developed solution in recent years.
Due to the large scale of the project, however, many further studies are needed before the construction of the fixed link can become a reality. One such essential study is the observation and analysis of traffic through the Strait of Gibraltar, a study that will be undertaken jointly by SECEGSA, SNED and CETMO.
The Three Stakeholders: SECEGSA, SNED and CETMO
SECEGSA and SNED:
On 24 October 1980, Morocco and Spain signed a supplemental agreement to the agreement on scientific and technical cooperation to jointly study the viability of a fixed link through the Strait of Gibraltar. This study was completed on 27 September 1989 by means of an additional agreement.
The 1980 agreement and the additional agreement established a joint Spanish-Moroccan committee as the governing body of the project, and two state companies (SNED in Morocco and SECEGSA in Spain) as the entities responsible for implementing the work plans approved by the joint committee to carry out studies on a fixed link between Europe and Africa through the Strait of Gibraltar that would focus on the following:
- The design, means and construction methods and implementation of the infrastructure.
- Promotion of the project at national and international level and implementation of all operations of any kind that might promote its development and implementation in Morocco, Spain and other countries.
- In general, any operation directly or indirectly related to the above objectives.
CETMO is an organization that promotes cooperation in the area of transport in the Western Mediterranean. CETMO's mission is “to improve transport conditions in the Mediterranean region with a view to facilitating trade and the safe, efficient and sustainable movement of people, with the overall objective of maintaining the socioeconomic development of the region and its people”.