Stena Line Acquires Stake in Africa Morocco Link

Nordic Maritime Giant Enters Strait of Gibraltar Market, Eyes Strategic Expansion in Mediterranean Shipping

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Stena Line, a leading maritime operator headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, has reached an agreement to acquire a 49% stake in the Moroccan ferry line Africa Morocco Link (AML). This acquisition signals the Nordic shipowner’s foray into the Strait of Gibraltar market, where AML operates two ro-pax vessels with daily sailings between Tanger Med – its operational hub – and the port of Algeciras. Additionally, it signifies the entry of a Northern European operator into a market experiencing burgeoning activity due to the rapid development of Moroccan ports and the increasing relocation of European industry to Morocco in recent years.

At the end of 2023, Danish shipowner DFDS acquired FRS subsidiaries to also operate routes between Spanish and Maghreb ports. Stena, which has announced the agreement, has not disclosed any financial figures related to the transaction at this time. Neither has it elaborated on the administrative implications of its entry into AML, a company controlled by the Greek shipping firm Attica Holdings and the Moroccan bank BMCE Bank of Africa.

However, this acquisition comes as AML was preparing to expand its services with a new “high-speed” route between Tangier, Morocco, and Tarifa, Spain, exclusively dedicated to passengers and vehicles. Stena’s entry into the Moroccan line’s capital is subject to approval by the authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Niclas Martensson, CEO of the Swedish firm, emphasized that Stena Line “remains vigilant in seizing new business opportunities that will make us more resilient in the long term,” highlighting the strategic significance of the Strait. He noted that passenger and cargo volumes are expected to grow in the coming years due to Morocco’s industrial and commercial dynamism. From his perspective, “these routes, these ports, and these industries are undergoing development and will lead to a very robust cargo market in the next ten years.”

Founded in the 1960s, Stena currently boasts a fleet of 38 ferries operating on 18 routes in Northern Europe. This strategic move aligns with Stena’s commitment to expanding its presence in key maritime corridors and underscores its confidence in the future growth potential of the Mediterranean shipping market.

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