Minister Mizzi was shown 15 newly acquired Kone Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs)—that stand over 27 metres high and will be fully operational in March—as well as other yard equipment, including 67 new tractors and trailers that have all been ordered over the past 12 months.
The new cranes, which complement another 50 already in use at the Freeport, were acquired from world-leading manufacturers KCI Kone Cranes.
Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi (middle) and CEO of Malta Freeport Alex Montebello (right)
As well as being faster than conventional cranes, they are also safer to operate, featuring an anti-collision system and are more energy-efficient. Their safety alarms, which are necessary since the cranes move around the yard, are also considerably quieter than the beeper alarms on older RTGs, benefitting the surrounding environment.
“This investment comes at a time when the terminals are operating at elevated capacity in a difficult and highly competitive environment. Despite these challenges, the Freeport once again broke records in terms of throughput in 2018, handling 3.31 million TEU containers."
Alex Montebello, CEO of Malta Freeport
Speaking at a joint press conference with the Minister for Tourism Mizzi, Alex Montebello also added: "this achievement is also thanks to the dedication of our committed personnel, without whom the results we’ve registered would not have been possible."
“Since we are already operating at high capacity, the next step is to ensure our terminals are able to accommodate four million containers. We are seeking to achieve this objective in a number of ways, including extending the Terminal Two North Quay which is currently at tendering stage. We strongly believe that investment is a catalyst for growth and is necessary to ensure we are able to meet the ever-growing challenges and maintain our position as a major transshipment hub.”
Mizzi highlighted the importance of the Freeport’s contribution to Malta’s economy and competitiveness.
The Minister stressed that such an investment had been carried out not only to improve the Freeport’s performance, but also to improve the air and noise levels in Birżebbuġa. Minister Mizzi also spoke of how the new high-tech state-of-the art cranes are energy-efficient and operate with low emissions. He added that in order to reduce sound levels as much as possible, new cranes were purchased equipped with rubber wheels and white noise sounders that are gentler on the ear in comparison to conventional beeper alarms.
The Minister also discussed additional corporate social responsibility initiatives with the Freeport to embellish Birżebbuġa.
The Freeport currently handles 20 weekly mainline services, providing network links to 130 ports around the world, and has received more than 2,200 vessels over the past 12 months.
Source: Press Release by the Ministry for Tourism