Launch of a refund scheme on port charges

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A scheme that reduces burden on importers and protects Maltese and Gozitan consumers from rise in prices

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg and Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri launched a Refund Scheme for Port Charges between December 2019 and May 2020.

Operators, importers and exporters as well as ship agents are eligible for this scheme applicable to those times when they brought domestic cargo for our country’s consumption during this period. The government allocated €2.08 million for this scheme, and these will be administered by Transport Malta.

Minister Ian Borg said that, “our ports are essential, both for our daily lives as well as for our economy. The shipping sector has proven its strength and determination when during the difficult months we had, they kept supplying us, our hospitals and essential shops with all we needed. We are speaking about an industry that generates around 14% of the Gross Domestic Product while creating thousands of value-added jobs. It was therefore more than appropriate to ensure that we help this industry to get back on its feet. Government appreciates and acknowledges the value of workers and industries. We will continue talking, listening and working hand in hand towards more growth and progress for the benefit of all.”

Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Silvio Schembri said that the scheme will take away a burden from importers while protecting Maltese and Gozitan consumers. “Without a doubt, the pandemic created a challenge both logistically as well as by increasing transport costs; this is what we are in fact addressing today through this scheme. We want to continue helping the local industry to maintain its competitivity while ensuring that there is no impact on the prices of essential goods. Therefore, while incentivising and giving some relief to operators to carry on with their work with a sense of peace of mind, on the other hand we are protecting consumers from the possibility of increase in prices due to administrative costs. This measure, which forms part of the economic regeneration plan, complements other measures that we launched even recently to safeguard the exportation and importation economic sectors”, said Minister Schembri, while stressing that the refund is aimed at those who brought cargo to our country for our consumption as a country.

During the conference there was an explanation about how in the case of operators, Transport Malta has all the necessary information and will be contacting eligible clients without the need for an application.

In the case of importers and exporters of unitised cargo, applications need to be supported by documentation and receipts of payment during this period.

Ship agents and freight forwarders need to show Delivery Orders and Bills of Lading as applicable.

The scheme will be divided into two. The first of these applies for those ships entering Malta’s ports with cargo between December 2019 and May 2020. This scheme offers a 35% refund on port charges, pilotage charges and berthing service charges.

The second scheme applies to those operating with trailers and containers in importation and exportation, where every trailer is eligible for €40 and every container is eligible for €20.

More than 1,350 ships, more than 24,700 containers and more than 14,700 trailers will be eligible for these refunds. Applicants should send an email to portcharges-refund.tm@transport.gov.mt. For more information please call 2291 4144.