Johannesburg – Contracts have been awarded over the past few weeks that will transform Tanger Med in Morocco “into the biggest container port in Africa”, Pan African magazine African Business wrote on Monday. The facility is already handling as much cargo as Durban in South Africa, the magazine noted.APM Terminals (APMT) is developing the fourth terminal at the port, named MedPort Tangier, which will take total port capacity up to 9m TEU a year. TEU measures a ship’s cargo carrying capacity, and the measurement is equivalent to 20 feet in length and 8 feet in height.“Netherlands-based APMT signed deals to buy 44 new cranes for the facility in late October, while the project management contract on the venture was awarded on 5 December,” the source added. “With annual handling capacity of 5m TEU a year, it will be by far the biggest container terminal on the African continent, more than twice the size of the largest terminal at Durban, which has a capacity of 3m TEU,” African Business pointed out, adding that there will be scope to add a further 1m TEU at a later date.“The existing three terminals currently handle more than 3m TEU a year, beyond their combined design capacity of 2.8m TEU. Tanger Med has already won some business from the Port of Algeciras in Spain because of its lower costs and higher productivity.”MedPort Tangier managing director, Dennis Olesen, said: “Our goal is to use proven technology to create high-productivity for our clients on one of the world’s most strategically important trade lanes on the Strait of Gibraltar.”The terminal will be the first in Africa able to serve the new generation of massive container vessels. Known as Ultra Large Container Ships, they can carry up to 20,000 TEU, the magazine noted. The facility is scheduled to open in 2019 and will act as an important transhipment terminal for the Western Mediterranean. Tanger Med is also helping Morocco deepen its role as a manufacturing centre. French car maker Renault now produces 250,000 vehicles a year in the country, while another French firm Valeo is setting up a new factory at an initial cost of €50m, the source said.