The Malta Independent 26 May 2018, Saturday

New Malta Marittima agency to bring government and private industry stakeholders together

Wednesday, 13 April 2016, 15:37 Last update: about 3 years ago

This morning, the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth José Herrera launched a new government agency with the name of Malta Marittima, the main aim of which is that of bringing industry and government stakeholders together so as to focus and promote the continued and enhanced development of the marine and maritime industries in the Maltese islands. The event, held at the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu, hosted the main local stakeholders of the industry, namely the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, the Malta Maritime Forum, and the Malta Maritime Law Association.

 

Four Economic Pillars—Logistics, services, energy and food

The Chairperson of the new agency, Ing Marc Muscat, said that the setting up of the agency was the second most important step after the drafting of the Integrated Maritime Policy last summer. “The implementation of this policy through Malta Marittima will ensure a long-term vision that drives for sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sector as a whole,” he said. The agency will encompass its various activities under the four economic pillars identified by the policy: logistics, services, energy and food from our seas. The agency will also bring on board the various actors to develop holistic and strategic solutions and to increase the efficient use and value added generated by the management of our marine and maritime resources. To do so, the Agency will strive to achieve better articulation in its modus operandi, and overcome its challenges so as to create niche economies while contributing towards a sustainable and integrated environment of our seas and their resources. The Agency will focus on critical factors that influence sustainable development, and how our competitiveness can be further enhanced through multi-sectoral clustering processes.

 

Three cross-sectoral strategies—Research and Education, Environment and Spatial Planning, and Surveillance and Security

Instrumental to the networking process will be the formation of three supporting networks to develop the horizontal/cross-sectoral strategies indicated in the Integrated Maritime Policy, the first one being Research and Education. This is at the core of cluster development, and the need has been identified by the Government to set up a Council chaired by the Ministry for Education along with the participation of the main academic institutions and representatives from Malta Marittima. The second strategy is Environment and Spatial Planning in respect of which a memorandum of understanding is being drawn with the Planning and Environmental Authorities for a committee that will contribute towards an improved planning process in line with the European Marine Spatial Planning and the Marine Strategy Framework Directives. The third and last strategy is Surveillance and Security. Malta Marittima, as per the Cabinet’s decision, has a seat on the High Level National Maritime Security Committee, where the Agency participates and exchanges information leading to a national security strategy in line with the European Union Member Security Strategy, the EUMSS.

 

Hand in hand with the private sector

Malta Marittima will be an exercise in strengthening the leverage of private public cooperation so that, despite our size limitations, it will create a favourable environment for positive transactions between the different maritime industries and actors. The development of such an ecosystem will lead to cooperation in and between companies within the economic clusters, which influence and are influenced proactively by the Government, thus leading to innovation, improved standards, and competitiveness. This bi-directional approach will facilitate effective and efficient decision-making processes. For Malta Marittima to be a success, there needs to be active involvement on the part of the private sector; to launch this initiative we have on board the three major maritime-related associations, which are the Chamber of Commerce, the Malta Maritime Forum, and the Malta Maritime Law Association. These three are all associations that bring on board established industry networks and a wealth of expertise and knowledge.

 

One-stop shop governance model

Besides industry representatives, the Government has appointed members coming from the different maritime sectors, namely Transport Malta, Malta Freeport Corporation, Malta Enterprise, Regulator for Energy & Water Services, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which, besides representing the Government at board level, are instrumental towards the development of a one-stop shop governance model through their participation on the steering committee. This mix will provide the private/public collaboration necessary to cover the whole marine and maritime business spectrum which will enable us to increase competitiveness, promote the sector, and improve inter/intra-coordination. 

 

Strengthening Malta’s geographic position and global reputation

With these initiatives in place, Malta Marittima will transition towards having an international dimension by increasing its connectivity. Malta Marittima will do this through international participation and by promoting the cluster and members’ strengths and opportunities. Malta Marittima takes off with three anchor areas: ports, ship registration, and tourism. The latter sector is ably run by the Malta Tourism Authority with which Malta Marittima will work closely in the area of nautical tourism. These three areas will contribute significantly towards the development of strategic axes (internationalisation, technology, excellence in management, training and human resources, and communication and representation). There is a considerable amount of work to be done, primarily to attract industry membership by creating added value for the industry, and by developing an exhaustive database of the industry, a database that will provide a detailed map of the state of play. Through an understanding of the Maltese endogenous environment, we will untangle the agglomeration of our maritime economy leading to evidence-based decision making process.  Benchmarking practices need to be adapted with other international maritime clusters so that the agency may position the Maltese Maritime clusters as an advantageous value proposition.

 

José Herrera says the Government is tapping into massive blue economy potential in a sustainable manner

The Parliamentary Secretary praised the excellent work done by Chairperson Ing Muscat, as well as his team coming from both private and public entities. He hailed the setting up of the agency as a milestone for Malta as the integrated maritime policy had been long in coming since its launch at a European level in 2007; he also said that this Government had committed itself in its manifesto to have this policy launched. From the first day since he had taken over this responsibility, he had  made it a point to finalise it.  He remarked, however, that “a lot of work still needs to be done since research done by the Secretariat had concluded that the added value that the maritime sector gives to our economy is rather low when compared to other competing countries. The sector contributes to 5% of our workforce and 9% of our GDP, this without taking into account the indirect contribution it provides. I am sure, however, that Malta Marittima will tap into the blue economy better and give Malta the cutting edge it needs to become more competitive, create more good-quality jobs, and increase its contribution to the GDP, all in collaboration with the private sector. This is in line with the Europe 2020 strategy which has at its core jobs and economic growth.” He concluded by saying that the setting up of the agency is not the end of this project but merely the beginning of a longer term project which seeks to reassert Malta’s position as a leading maritime nation.

  

Additional information

The Malta Marittime governing board will be made of the following members: Ing Marc Muscat as Chairperson; Mr Joe Bugeja from the Malta Maritime Forum; Dr Ann Fenech from the Malta Maritime Lawyers Association; Mr Matthew Sullivan, Mr Ernest Sullivan and Dr Alison Vassallo from the Chamber of Commerce; Mr Ivan Sammut from Transport Malta; Dr Andreina Farrugia-Fenech from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Dr Aaron Farrugia from the Malta Freeport Corporation; Dr Andre Buttigieg from the Regulator of Energy and Water Services; and Ms Marika Tonna from Malta Enterprise.

 

Further information may be obtained by visiting www.maltamarittima.org.mt

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