Last Updated on Thursday, 27 April, 2023 at 8:42 pm by Andre Camilleri
Malta Freeport Terminals has signed a landmark agreement with the government to carry out its first terminal expansion in two decades, which will further enhance the facility’s reputation as a leading transhipment hub as well as benefitting the local economy and environment.
The project will extend the north quay at the Freeport’s Terminal Two by 176 metres and the west quay by 195 metres, ensuring the facility will be able to handle new and future LNG-powered mega containerships which are already more than four football pitches in length and carry 23,000 TEU containers.
Upon completion of the project, the Freeport will renounce its right to install Quay Cranes on the West Quay at Terminal One – currently the most visible from the shore of Birzebbuga – in a major boon for residents.
Announcing the agreement at a joint press conference with the Minister for the Economy, EU Funds and Land, Silvio Schembri, Freeport CEO Alex Montebello said:
“The Terminal Two extension will be win-win for everyone: for our facility’s capability to handle the world’s largest container ships with maximum efficiency, for the Birzebbuga residents and for local importers and exporters, who will benefit from more services than ever before.
“The project will also generate more than 160 new jobs and take the investment in the facility since privatisation past the €400 million mark, making the Freeport one of the biggest ever investors in Maltese history.”
The Freeport has already undertaken a €320 million strategic investment programme in state-of-the-art machinery and equipment.
Recent acquisitions include two giant megamax quay cranes, the most technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly on the market capable of handling mega containerships, as well as the latest IT systems which make it possible to plan and execute operations with maximum efficiency.
The Freeport today offers services to 120 ports worldwide – more than 50 of which are in the Mediterranean – on several mainline services operated by major shipping lines and was recently named by the prestigious shipping publication Lloyds List among the top 10 ports in the world in terms of growth in percentage terms.
The facility, which handles almost three million TEU containers per year, provides direct employment for more than 1,500 people and contributes €170 million – two per cent of Gross Domestic Product – making it a major pillar of Malta’s economy.
The Freeport has also been a big supporter of the local community, sponsoring a range of activities ranging from sports clubs, to the local school, to services for vulnerable children and elderly residents.
As a result of the extension agreement, the facility will be making an additional contribution to the community of €300,000 in its ongoing commitment to the neighbourhood.