The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Malta Maritime Forum says more direction needed through an updated maritime policy

Tuesday, 8 June 2021, 11:56 Last update: about 10 days ago

The Malta Maritime Forum has urged the need for more direction through an updated maritime policy for the sector.

The interests of the maritime industry were discussed with the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Transport during a regular meeting which the Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) seeks to hold with the country’s policy makers. 

During this meeting, the Chairman of the MMF, Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon highlighted the strategic and economic importance of the industry to our Islands. Members of the Board drilled into the contribution and needs of each facet of the industry which incorporates port and terminal operators, vessel towage providers, ship agencies, bunkering operators, pilots, tank-cleaning facilities, docking operations mooring-personnel, dockers, cargo hauliers, professional services providers and suppliers of yachting services amongst many other activities.  “These players form a chain of inter-related activities which, in turn, interact with a much wider network of economic providers in related sectors to offer the client on the international market a complete, professional and attractive proposition. Besides, industry players also give continuous service to local clients by way of importation and exportation,” a statement by the Forum read.

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In this regard, Judge Zammit Mc Keon insisted on the need for regular consultation with the Forum to ensure that policy related to maritime affairs and growth in the Blue Economy would be built on the realities and projected outlook faced by the economic operators.  In this context, he mentioned the direction which the industry was taking with an ever-increasing size of vessels, which vessels are switching to greener energy such as LNG and hydrogen in line with the decarbonisation aspirations of the industry.

The MMF said that the private sector was making substantial investments in this regard to ensure that it was in a position to maintain Malta’s competitiveness. In this context, it was felt that industry players required more direction through an updated maritime policy and strategies for Malta’s major commercial harbours.

The MMF further insisted on more support for investors – both local and foreign – from the authorities’ part in order to allow them to fulfil their obligations in an effective and competitive manner.

“The Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Transport spoke in favour of the systemic importance of the maritime industry for Malta and the need for continuous development and modernisation within it. They declared that the importance of the maritime industry within the national policy making process deserved to be escalated,” the statement read.

In closing, the MMF Chairman said that the interests and objectives of the Industry and those of the policy maker are very well aligned because each side only desires future smart and sustainable growth across the entire value chain for the common good.

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