Minister Ian Borg addressed a conference about the cargo and shipping sector organised by ICHCA and hosted by the Malta Freeport in our country to discuss several topics that can contribute to a safer, cleaner and more efficient sector. The minister said that dialogue is among the most important qualities as it leads to productive collaboration between the government and the industry together with more success for the maritime sector in our country.
“The government is determined to continue facing challenges with a perspective that transforms them into opportunities. The maritime sector and industry’s contribution to our country is priceless. We are speaking about 23,000 jobs, more than 12% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. Above all, we live on an island, and we therefore depend on shipping for cargo movements, from basic needs like medicine and food to the most luxurious commodities,” said Minister Borg.
He spoke about the importance of acknowledging the commitment with which our ports and leadership through the Ports Directorate within Transport Malta coordinate these processes and said that last year our ports saw more than 12,000 international ship calls, while the Freeport Terminal is one of the most important transhipment hubs in the Mediterranean today.
“This is thanks to several investments by the Freeport but is also the result of the work we are doing towards updated infrastructure and practices which are relevant to our times. It is thanks to the commitment to conform to European standards and international regulations. We remain committed to continue being at the forefront to have transparent and stable legislation and innovative systems, while we aim for more training opportunities,” explained the minister.
He referred to the investments being made by the government in maritime infrastructure, like the Grand Harbour regeneration as well as other plans to improve the ship to shore interface. Minister Borg stressed that all this work also has the aim of protecting the maritime environment, a factor where our country has always been at the forefront even through the contribution it makes on international fora. The minister referred to the contribution made by the industry in this regard and reminded those present of the Malta Maritime Pilots and Ocean Care’s investment last week towards equipment for cases of oil spills by vessels.
“It is very satisfying that we have a flag with a gross tonnage of 82.7 million, with 8,610 registered vessels, a flag that is first in Europe and sixth in the world. It is a great satisfaction that we work very well with this proactive industry. It is clear that the maritime industry and the government have a common vision, towards more success, more safety and a protected maritime environment, and we will continue working together towards these goals,” concluded Minister Ian Borg.