Potential for more work at Malta Freeport with the strengthening of Maltese trade in more than 100 ports, particularly in Asia
The year 2021 will see the Malta Freeport Terminal increase its potential for more jobs and the creation of more job opportunities. This is on account of the record investment and the strengthening of Maltese trade with more than 100 ports connected around the world, said the Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri during a visit at the Malta Freeport Corporation.
The minister spoke about the government’s vision for Freeport for the year 2021, which will see the largest investment of around € 37 million. He also referred to the investment being made in Freeport’s operating systems which will be equipped with technology that will have a less environmental impact, through a lighting system that allows ships to switch off engines when moored at the Freeport. This reduces pollution as well as noise in the port.
This investment includes the installation of two modern key cranes to help manage containers with an investment of € 20 million, which are to be installed by summer 2021.
Minister Schembri emphasized the need for balance, between the Freeport’s operations and support for the community of Birżebbuġa, noting the ongoing work on the supply project for Onshore Power Supply. With an investment of more than € 12 million, this will benefit the residents of the surrounding area, who will experience a lack of emissions and noise, currently generated by moored ships.
Minister Schembri also spoke about the contribution of the Freeport to the growth of our country’s economy and its key role in the delivery of raw materials for local industry, which ensured that Malta’s exports were not affected.
Minister Schembri also remarked on 2020’s performance and explained that although this was a challenging year globally, when comparing the performance at Freeport Malta with that of ports across the Mediterranean, the results are more than encouraging. Statistics show that the total influx for 2020, was 2.4 million containers. There were a total of 131,000 containers that were local imports or exports, in particular from Asia, with a contribution to the local economy of more than € 160 million.
The minister also spoke about the work on the construction of a three-storey car park which will be open to Freeport workers, residents of Birżebbuġa and the general public and which will involve an investment of € 3 million from MFC, with works scheduled to start from Projects Malta in the first quarter of 2021. He said that the MFC has requested Infrastructure Malta to prepare an indicative quotation for the necessary repairs on the Medserv pier and part of the Oiltanking pier. The estimate is € 1.6 million. The next step is the final underwater surveys.
During this year, the MFC will continue with environmental monitoring and will financially help non-governmental organizations in the community of Birżebbuġa from the fund managed between the MFC and the MFTL.
During the same visit, the minister met with workers in charge of operational safety, workers in charge of transhipments, container handling and freight forwarders and thanked them for their hard work. The Malta Freeport employs 1,496 employees.
Malta Freeport Corporation CEO David Magro recalled the Authority’s responsibility for security in the Freeport area. He said that in 2020 around € 180k has been invested with regard to security as well as working continuously with customs.
Malta Freeport Terminal CEO Alex Montebello said that despite the economic difficulties brought about by the pandemic, the Freeport has continued with important investments through the signing of the contract for the purchase of two quay cranes. He mentioned that Freeport is one of the main pillars of the Maltese economy and is having a direct as well as an indirect impact on the economy of our country while generating the creation of hundreds of jobs.