The government is expected to announce shortly its intentions how it will be transforming the former ship building site in Marsa to a maritime hub.
When the call for expressions of interest was launched, four categories had been identified as to what could be done at this site:
• Oil and gas industry, and logistics
• Ship repair, heavy industry, yachting, and logistics
• Super yacht refit and repair facility and an offshore energy regional support base
• Servicing of yachts, supply of hard-standing facilities and other services.
Sources close to the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small business headed by Dr Chris Cardona have told this paper that the government has identified the first category as the category which offers most potential for this site.
This particular category offers the most potential use of land and water facilities, demonstrating good investment and employment opportunities.
Furthermore, this category is perceived as providing a high level of development, regeneration and value added services thus promoting the basis for the development of human resources in respect of the trades employed on the project.
Among the advantages of this category
• Malta is directly in the centre of what is presently happening in the oil and gas industry in the Mediterranean. Rigs can also be attracted from the Atlantic Ocean to West Africa since the deviation would not be more than one week each way;
• All rigs require maintenance and in depth reconstruction during their working lives, particularly when the rigs are going off-station to reallocate. There is no rig repair station in the Mediterranean.
• The oil and gas industry is expected to bounce back in the market in the foreseeable future, particularly in North Africa. Moreover, the oil and gas markets in Tunisia, the Adriatic and the Eastern Mediterranean are on the increase and this shall result in a bigger number of rigs and a higher level of market activity in the Mediterranean.
• This utilisation category fosters the establishment of a training institution supporting the technical capabilities of the local industry and to train workers.
In evaluating this category, the level of employment opportunities that proposals demonstrate will be viewed as a high value added factor. Furthermore, proponents are encouraged to seek strategic partners or alliances that specialise in the various activity domains.
The Privatisation Unit received 28 international expressions of interest for the development of a Maritime Hub in the former Shipbuilding site in Marsa.
11 of these 28 submissions were for the development of the whole site while others are proposals which regard to part of the 175,000 sq m site.
Among the investors which collected the Call for an Expression of Interest there were both Maltese and foreign companies.
Minister Cardona said these submissions express the trust that investors have in the government’s vision – that Malta has a natural potential to become a maritime centre of excellence in the Mediterranean.
At this point, the Privitasation Unit is short listing and will shortly announce the result. This will be followed by a request for proposals where interested companies will be asked to submit a detailed financial plan for the project they propose.