In progress

Optimising import and export processes in the agri-food sector

Automating practices and improving data sharing

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Developed from the ground up with Moroccan government agencies and businesses, this project aims to cut the time and cost of trading agri-food products by designing and implementing electronic systems to address two major border issues caused by paper processes.

First, every container passing through Morocco’s main ports must be weighed twice – once when full and once when empty. The weigh data is recorded manually on paper slips and taken by hand to those who need it, for example for calculating import duties or the load balance for a ship. This leads to trucks being delayed in the port area, which is a major issue when trading perishable agri-food products which are sensitive to time and temperature.

Second, traders importing or exporting plants or plant products must acquire a paper phytosanitary certificate to show that the material is considered free from pests and that it complies with plant health regulations. In Morocco, as in most countries, these paper certificates accompany the shipment or are exchanged by post with trading partners. This makes for a lengthy process, where any errors take a long time to rectify, and there is a risk of loss, damage or fraud.

What are we doing

Alongside multiple Moroccan border agencies and local and international agri-food companies, our project will:

  • design and introduce a paperless, automated data exchange between the weigh bridges at Morocco’s main ports and those who use the data with an initial focus on the Port of Casablanca
  • support Morocco in introducing and sharing electronic phytosanitary certificates (ePhytos) with other countries and join the “e-Phyto Hub”, an initiative led by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM), the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention


Digitising the weighing process will:

  • make the flow of goods more efficient for the terminal operator, the cargo inspection company, the road transporter, the clearing agent and of course traders importing and exporting
  • also benefit the government and its agencies through higher levels of compliance and efficiency gains.

Ultimately we expect to reduce the clearance time for weighing by 25 percent.

The use of ePhytos will:

  • mean certificates are transferred immediately between countries, reducing the risk of loss, damage or fraud and cutting delays and costs for traders at borders
  • reduce the administrative burden on border agencies
  • pave the way for Morocco to exchange other types of data with trading partners

It is expected to reduce the clearance time for imports and exports requiring this certification by two days.


We will measure the time taken for border compliance for agri-food imports and exports using the weighing process and/or ePhytos. We will conduct a study before and after the project to assess the impact on time and cost of trading using our Total Transport and Logistics Costs (TTLC) methodology, which measures both direct and indirect transport costs. Ultimately, we look for evidence of wider benefits for society such as increased opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.

How can the private sector get involved?

We are looking for businesses to get involved in a wide range of activities, including:

  • identifying international best practice
  • providing technical expertise to design and pilot the new systems
  • collecting and sharing data
  • delivering training.


The project will be implemented in three overlapping phases over 20 months.

Phase 1



Phase 2

12 months

Analysis and design of new processes using international best practice

Phase 3

15 months

Piloting, delivering training and launching new systems

Get involved

Find out how to get involved in the wider Alliance by clicking the boxes to the right.

Contact us in Morocco