Rabat – The Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier is bound to transform Morocco into its railway platform for African countries. The giant wants to triple its investments in the country, with the construction of a new plant scheduled for late 2018.The group has just unveiled at the Rail Industry Summit, held last monthin Casablanca, that it will build over 145,000 m² of surface area, a budget of EUR 60 million euros of investments and 2,000 direct jobs a new plant in 2018, reported Jeune Afrique. The future plant will be established in Kenitra free zone. It will consist of 145,000 square meters to its suppliers. Fifteen suppliers have already expressed interest in investing in the kingdom, supporting Bombardier’s ambition to convince about 50 of its subcontractors to relocate their activities to Morocco.This ecosystem is intended to support the development of the railway sector in Morocco. The Canadian giant, which has won the project to modernize the establishment of 360 kilometers of railways and the renovation of 14 trains from the ONCF, is eyeing major contracts in the country.“The ecosystem created in Morocco will allow to be a bridgehead to go-to African markets for TGV, regional trains, and trams that will be made in Morocco,” Taoufiq Boussaid, president of the Moroccan subsidiary of Bombardier, told Jeune Afrique.Boussaid has previously said that “ultimately, Bombardier’s ambition is to reach 40,000 square meters of industrial units, the creation of an engineering center in Casablanca, the creation of 600 direct jobs and technology transfer in this sector.”Jean-Paul Boutibou, VP Sales, Middle East and Africa, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft told Morocco World News in a previous interview that Bombardier “evaluated several countries and chose Morocco for a number of reasons.”These include the country’s internationally competitive manufacturing costs, low shipping and transportation costs and proximity to Europe. Other aerospace manufacturers have established a footprint in Morocco already. A key factor in the selection of the Nouaceur site was its proximity to Casablanca, a city that offers quality aerospace, industrial, and educational infrastructures.
(Updated)No word from police tonight on a standoff that shut down a section of Barton Street for more than four hours, this evening. The area bounded by James and MacNab running from Murray to Mulberry Street was sealed off as police focussed their attention, on a home at the corner of Barton and MacNab.They say they will not have a release of information this evening, until at least midnight and so far we have not been able to confirm any of the information that we were able to gather at the scene.This all started around 3:30 this afternoon on Barton Street, between James and MacNab.Police were notified about a robbery, on the street and when the CHCH cameraman arrived, one of the victims shouted that he’d been robbed of $12,000 at gunpoint.Police then hustled the man, and his companion into a patrol car, and removed them from the scene.One is described as being in his 40’s, and walking with a cane. The other was a younger man, possibly in his 20’s.Police then sealed off the area and began a lengthy vigil, centered on a home at the corner of Barton and MacNab.At various times, we saw people both in a front window of the house, and on a porch at the side of the home. One of them shouted to police that he was calling the owner of the property.Around five o’clock, we saw those same residents exiting the house, under the direction of police.As the sun went down, residents of the area were told to stay in their homes, and at least one officer near Murray Street was seen securing a rifle, in the trunk of his car.Just after 7pm, members of the police tactical unit, appeared in the area, and an armoured vehicle was stationed outside the home.Spotlights were used to light the exterior, and half an hour later, police used a loud-hailer to call to any remaining occupants inside the house, ordering them to come to the door with nothing in their hands.When they received no response, members of the Emergency Response Unit opened the door and went in. After several minutes they came out again, without a suspect, and soon after, left the scene.Since that time,CHCH has contacted police to find out why they entered the house and what they may have been looking for.We also wanted to confirm, that the two men who called police to the scene in the first place had actually been robbed at gunpoint.But no information on this incident is forthcoming from police and we don’t know whether an armed suspect may still be at large, in the area of MacNab and Barton Streets.