Gozo-Malta fast ferry service could be possible from 1 June

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From 1 June 2021, shipping operators will be able to provide their service by fast ferry to Mgarr, Gozo, the government has announced.

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, 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 identifies 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 holistically. Therefore, we will ensure 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 using this route by sea in an equitable manner. We believe that this should be done in order to encourage and facilitate the concept of intermobility. In addition, the Government will also ensure that all operators who meet the 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 is working to issue a public and international call for the service of the Public Service Obligation between the islands, which includes the transportation of private vehicles and others.

Minister for Gozo Clint 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 ensure 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.”

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