June 5, 2020 Print

The Arab Center for Research, a Morocco-based Atlas Network partner, is successfully creating digital solutions that are improving business services for local port communities engaged in international trade. 

In 2016, the Moroccan government worked with private stakeholders to develop PortNet, a digital tool designed to improve the logistics related to shipping as well as facilitate e-government services for port-related businesses. PortNet was expected to reduce the time needed to complete international trade transactions and was reaching thousands of users, but additional training and modifications to the platform were necessary to make it more effective. 

In order to provide a clear perspective on the needs of the port community, the Moroccan government, and international trade associations, the Arab Center reached out to stakeholders with a survey related to their needs and established a focus group to investigate problems with the existing platform. By coming up with research-based recommendations, the Arab Center planned to design and help incorporate new features that would make the platform more user-friendly and functional. 

When the survey concluded, the Arab Center’s suggestions for improved functionality included more online training and instructions, a direct hotline, and an online technical chat to enable users to get technical support faster. Nouh El Harmouzi of the Arab Center, who led the project, said that PortNet has already begun the implementation phase, and that stakeholders are reporting greater satisfaction with the improved platform. 

PortNet is now exclusively in use for all international port trade, and all logistics, banking, and trade transactions related to import and export are completed through the platform. El Harmouzi is optimistic that the technical optimization through PortNet will help improve Morocco’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. 

The Arab Center for Research received an Atlas Network grant in support of this project.