The government will invest €5 million in maritime infrastructure and liberalise in the most transparent and complete way so that those interested operators, provide the direct Fast Ferry service for passengers only between Mġarr, Gozo and Valletta in just 45 minutes as promised in the government electoral manifesto.
From 1st June 2021 shipping operators will be able to provide their service by fast ferry.
At a press conference where more plans for the maritime sector were discussed, Ministers Ian Borg and Clint Camilleri explained how from 1st June 2021, shipping operators will be able to start providing their service between the Grand Harbour, Valletta and the Mġarr Harbour by direct fast ferry for passengers only. This was announced after a decision was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers to liberalise the shipping market on this specific route.
Minister Ian Borg explained how any operator interested in offering this service will be able to do so as long as it meets the criteria set by the Transport Authority and announced earlier in the day in a Port Notice. This notice contains the necessary criteria to be met by shipping operators, both local and international, in order to start operating this route from 1st June 2021.
This notice is expected to identify the landing site that will be used for this service in the Mġarr Harbour in Gozo as well as the landing site to be used in the Grand Harbour, Valletta.
“The ministry I lead looks at transport in a holistic way. Therefore, we will see that the passengers of any operator who meets the criteria listed in the port notice will be able to benefit from the use of the Barrakka lift free of charge as well as see that Malta Public Transport is open for cooperation with all operators operating this route by sea in an equitable manner. We believe that this should be done in order to continue to encourage and facilitate the concept of intermobility. In addition, the Government will also be ensuring that all operators who meet these criteria will be able to benefit from exemptions from excise duty as announced by the Ministry of Finance. Passengers will also be eligible for refunds if they also use such services, as announced by the Ministry responsible for Gozo”, said Minister Ian Borg.
Minister Borg also mentioned how the Government and its Ministry are working to have a public and international call for the service of the Public Service Obligation between the islands, which includes the transport of private vehicles and others.
Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri said that this is another promise that will be fulfilled by this Government and it is a pleasure for him to see all this interest from private operators to offer a fast ferry service that offers better accessibility to Gozitans between the two islands.
Minister Camilleri explained that this journey, taking less than 45 minutes, will offer more efficiency and comfort for Gozitan workers and students.
He said that on the Gozo Ministry’s part to “complement this service we will also be seeing that Gozitans who decide to start traveling by fast ferry between the two islands will be given the same refund that is given today when using the Gozo Channel.”
Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri concluded by saying that he believes that this announced initiative will result into better connectivity for Gozitans and therefore a better quality of life.