The Minister commended all individuals, companies, and organisations operating within the maritime industry, both those coming from the public and the private sector. He reiterated his intention as minister to continue working to enable the sector to maintain the momentum gained and to continue moving forward whilst retaining the positive international reputation our country has achieved.
The Minister said that such a robust industry cannot continue to flourish without the contribution of dedicated investors and entities such as the maritime pilots and their employees who possess the drive and determination to continue developing their professional status and come forward with new initiatives. He expressed his satisfaction at seeing that together with the Government’s investment in several infrastructural projects, the private sector is also taking the initiative to complement these by means of other investments, showing that the Government holds a high level of trust within the private sector.
The new centre — Maritime MT — will substitute the existing training and research centre. The latter has served its purpose well, however its size can no longer cater for the variety of needs and demands of a growing industry and a dynamic legal framework. Minister Ian Borg said that it is essential to continue investing in the training and professional development of the individuals who make the maritime sector what it is, stating that without their dedication and expertise, it would not function and that this successful industry would come to an abrupt halt.
Minister Borg commended this element of foresight and thinking ahead – an attitude which continues driving the sector forward towards sustained success and growth. He explained that with a training centre that is to also start catering for those who offer services on superyachts and the leisure industry, many opportunities will be opening up—opportunities that will affect different sectors and service providers in our country. This €3 million investment will result in holistic training, which will address all maritime sectors including seafarers and shore-based personnel, while attracting youths to seek a maritime career thanks to increased opportunities.
The Minister spoke highly of the spirit of discussion and collaboration which continues to define the successes and achievements of the sector, and expressed his pleasure at witnessing cooperation between the Government, Transport Malta, pilots, Tug Malta, mooring men, ship owners and terminal operators in this endeavour. He also praised the initiative regularly and jointly taken by Transport Malta and the Malta Maritime Pilots in commissioning studies addressing present day realities in order to update and recommend strategy and manoeuvres entering the Valletta and Marsaxlokk Ports where the safety of navigation is always the prime objective.
“Maritime ports are crucial for any island economy and so is the case for Malta. The importance of our ports cannot be underestimated. The ever increasing ship sizes and tight schedules, the just in time concept, and limited port capacity pose challenges. However, such challenges do not frighten us as we have the assurance of an excellent working relationship between Transport Malta in its function as Port Authority, and the service providers that render services to the 9,000 sea going ships that call our ports either to carry out cargo operations or for other services including bunkering and ship repair”, said the Minister.
“Maritime Pilotage is one of those essential services that has become more relevant with the growth in ship sizes and the increased commercial pressures in a highly competitive industry. The modern approach of conducting port safety and nautical studies using ship handling simulators combined with local knowledge keep our ports operating efficiently without compromising safety standards.”
The studies commissioned will also serve as a platform to bring together stakeholders, raising discussions on how to reach the objectives and implement the measures recommended in the report in a pragmatic way. In this regard, the Minister also took a moment to thank the Dutch company Marin, a leader in port safety research, with whom both Transport Malta and pilots have now established a professional working relationship. Their expertise and input combined with local knowledge give the port safety study credibility as well as added value.
Minister Borg concluded by reiterating his sincere belief in the importance of discussion throughout the sector. “Our willingness to collaborate and to appreciate the efforts made by both the private and the public sector is one of the main influencers of our successes. I look forward to witnessing the benefits which will certainly be a result of this investment, and reiterate my commitment towards the growth and benefit of the maritime sector.”
Source: Press Release by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects