The Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) today welcomed Minister Ian Borg’s announcement that Cabinet had given the green light for Transport Malta to be de-merged into separate entities for road transport, aviation and maritime affairs. In a statement, the MMF said that the re-establishment of a national entity solely responsible for the maritime industry was amongst the main proposals in a document entitled “A Maritime-Centred Electoral Manifesto” which the MMF presented in person to the leaders of the Political Parties last July ahead of a possible General Election.
“For some time, members of the Malta Maritime Forum noted that with the amalgamation of a number of entities and departments into Transport Malta, the priority required by the Maritime Industry on both the national and international levels had become diluted in other overall responsibilities covered by Transport Malta including Aviation and Transport where the latter alone includes, vehicle registrations, drivers licences, VRT stations, the road network, traffic management, road safety, the bus service and all aspects of public transport animals and animal drawn-vehicles.”
From the MMF’s perspective, the country was ahead of time and ahead of its competition when it established a Malta Maritime Authority in 1991. This had provided Malta with a competitive edge over other important maritime jurisdictions within and outside the EU, which advantage has now been lost.
Speaking during a meeting in which Minister Borg made his important announcement, the MMF Chairman Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon said that Transport Malta had performed its role well over the past 12 years – as reflected by Malta’s prime position in terms of ship registrations. He said that the direction now taken by Government did justice to the significant contribution made by the Industry to the Islands’ socio-economic development. He added, “Members of the MMF are competing in a global village where specialisation is key, hence the Forum’s recommendation. We are pleased that Government has taken heed of our advice and the MMF will support the Working Group appointed to advise the Minister on the de-merger process. The fact that Government has listened and acted on our advice sends the right message to the industry about Malta’s aspirations of consolidating its position on a global scale”, he concluded.