Last Updated on Thursday, 7 April, 2022 at 10:27 am by Andre Camilleri
“I had just retired from the Bench this time last year with little practical awareness of the day-to-day challenges affecting the Maritime sector but since I have taken over the Chairmanship of the MMF, the industry has completely absorbed me, the engagement with members is a most enriching experience, and I have a lot of energy to give to this vibrant Forum.” Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon had this to say to members of the Malta Maritime Forum who gathered at Sa Maison House for their Annual General Assembly which was held in hybrid form on 5 April.
In opening his address, Judge Zammit McKeon thanked his predecessor Dr Joe Borg for his contribution in the formation of the Forum and giving it his leadership during its infancy. He expressed his utmost appreciation to Deputy Chairman Mr Lino Vassallo and all outgoing Board members for their technical support as well as to Bank of Valletta for their relentless backing. The Chairman expressed his gratitude to Mr Joe Bugeja as Chairman and CEO of Transport Malta for always finding the time to consult with the Forum and for accommodating the MMF at Sa Maison House. He also thanked the outgoing Minister Dr Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and their respective Permanent Secretaries for their most valuable collaboration to the industry and the MMF. He looked forward to future cooperation with incoming Minister Aaron Farrugia with a view to consolidate the positive momentum gained so far, whilst continuing to offer our advice and expertise on matters which require urgent closure.
The MMF Chairman went on to explain how recent developments have shown that the MMF was continuously gaining in stature and in its position as the natural interlocutor with the authorities for the Maritime Industry. He said that this was the result of teamwork across all board members that contributed to the Forum’s relevance and credibility in its policy and communications efforts with its members, the authorities and the wider public.
He quoted how the advice of the MMF was taken onboard by the authorities when it made meaningful, well-researched proposals within a spirit of collaboration and consultation with the authorities. He said that after the MMF had publicly proposed the need for the country to re-establish a national entity solely responsible for the maritime industry, it welcomed the Cabinet decision announced last October to demerge Transport Malta and soon after it engaged with the special working group appointed by the then Minister. He said that the MMF cooperated with the authorities to find solutions for the industry on several other occasions including on amendments needed to the recent port notice about sanctions and restrictive measures, on unannounced infrastructural works within the ports, on the proposed Grand Harbour regeneration, the draft Ship Agency Regulations and more recently on the proposed Exclusive Economic Zone. Judge Zammit McKeon outlined some of these issues as immediate challenges facing the MMF and the industry in the coming months.
The MMF Chairman explained that the position papers articulated by the Forum were largely composed of feedback and technical input received from its members. He said, that time was purposely being dedicated for himself and the CEO to visit members individually at their offices and set-ups to better understand how and where the MMF can support. “We believe personal visits give a lot of value to our members and they are very well appreciated”, he concluded.
The CEO, Kevin J Borg presented an overview of the MMF’s work over the past twelve months. The activities, he said, were motivated by the 3-year business plan which he had presented to the AGA for approval 12 months earlier. The business plan, he reminded, was in turn inspired by the revised objectives through which the MMF aspired to be flag-bearer for the entire Maritime Industry and to create constant awareness about its economic contribution and its needs as well as to provide value, support and leadership to the Maritime Community.
He reminded members about the importance of an agreement with the Malta Employers’ Association which allowed the Forum to expand its communications reach to television. This agreement, in fact, offered regular exposure to the MMF on the popular MEA TV programme. The MMF’s communications strategy had further expanded into social media this year through a permanent presence on Linked In which gained strong traction over the year thanks to regular updates and posts.
The Annual General Assembly elected the following persons to the Board of Directors of the MMF for the following 3-Year Term:
Joseph Calleja / Palumbo Shipyard Ltd
Capt. Jesmond Mifsud / Malta Maritime Pilots
Mario Mizzi / Tug Malta Ltd
Alex Montebello / Malta Freeport Terminal
Lino C. Vassallo / Malta International Shipowners Association
Stephen Xuereb / Valletta Cruise Port Plc.
Paul Abela / Malta Chamber of SMEs
Jonathan Borg / Bluhull Marine Agency Ltd.
Michael Callus / Medsea Shipping Agency
Miriam Camilleri / MCConsult & Associates Ltd.
Capt. John M. Dalli / Malta Mooring Masters Cooperative Ltd.
Dr Ann Fenech / Malta Maritime Law Association
Thomas Sullivan / Seatrans Shipping Ltd.
Godwin Xerri / Focal Maritime Services Ltd
Ivan Mifsud / MBL : Mifsud Brothers Ltd