The Business Year

Dounia Gnaou

MOROCCO - Energy & Mining

Dounia Gnaou

Managing Director, Soremar

Bio

Dounia Gnaou acquired international professional recognition gained from experiences in the maritime sector in Denmark, the UK, and the US. In 2012, she joined the family business contributing greatly to the international exposure of Soremar Group in the marine field. One of her passion-oriented project revolves around providing safety at sea for fishermen in African countries. Raising awareness around sustainable fishing is one of her main motives as well. She also takes interest in satellite telecommunications.

TBY talks to Dounia Gnaou, Managing Director of Soremar.

What were the main challenges for Soremar during the course of the pandemic, and how did you remain resilient?

The fishing market was hit hard in the beginning, though fisheries have seen exponential growth this year. Morocco exports to the EU, Japan, Russia, and China at times. Despite fishing in a more sustainable way and seeing growing figures, along with crew sensitivities to navigating COVID-19, we found it difficult to sell the fish. We focus on three areas: fisheries, leisure, and commercial. The commercial departments are for maritime transport, and prices peaked because when flights were not as reliable, maritime transport continued as normal. Seeing transport prices climb impacted our end users and us as well. We are involved in the third segment, leisure, in terms of how we work to boost leisure in Morocco. We are blessed with fantastic marinas in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and one of the branches for our marina services is the exclusive shipyard in Tanger-Med. 

What is the significance of your partnership with Marlink?

Marlink has been our partner for more than 20 years, and it is in Morocco as a satellite telecommunicator. We are extremely pleased to have a partner in the sector that understands the specificities of the African market. Marlink has been able to tap into this market simply by asking us the question about what we need and how it could help us achieve it. In terms of innovation, optimizing fisheries in the safest conditions is what we focus on. To put it simply, the ocean is the limit in this case, and technologically, if you compare it to cars on the street or aeronautics, many innovations have already been pushing the daily lives of everyday workers. 

What are your goals and expectations for the coming year?

The keywords for the launch of our new product this year are AI and sustainability. These two words go hand-in-hand in a sector that is normally very traditional, and we’re very excited about that. I am confident that it will make a huge difference, especially for fisheries. In terms of our goals, transition is a necessity, and things do not change overnight; teams and markets must be ready. We are preparing an IPO, so we will take all the necessary steps in the coming months to make sure we are ready as a structure. 

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