Malta Freeport Terminals revealed an investment of €31 in new equipment and infrastructural works at the end of January, according to a press statement. The new facilities are expected to be fully operational in March.
The recently announced investment includes 15 newly-acquired Kone Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs), as well as other yard equipment including 67 new tractors and trailers. The new cranes come as an addition to another 50 already in use, the new ones being provided by manufacturer KCI Kone Cranes. The freeport says the new equipment is faster and safer.
“This investment comes at a time when the Terminals are operating at elevated capacity in a difficult and highly competitive environment,” said Alex Montebello, CEO at Malta Freeport Terminals, during the press conference announcing the new investment. “Despite these challenges, the Freeport once again broke records again in terms of throughput in 2018, handling 3.31 million TEU containers. This is also thanks to the dedication of our committed personnel – without whom the results we’ve registered would not have been possible,” he added.
The CEO also tagged the current investment as a catalyst for further growth. “Since we are already operating at high capacity, the next step is to ensure our terminals are able to accommodate four million containers. We are seeking to achieve this objective in a number of ways, including extending the Terminal Two North Quay which is currently at tendering stage,” he added.
Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi, who also attended the press conference announcing the investment, acknowledged the importance of the freeport concerning the economy and competitiveness of Malta. Mr Mizzi noted that the current financing is also good for nearby town Birzebugga, as noise levels will drop and the quality of air will improve. The tourism minister also explained about the energy efficiency and low-emission operations of the new equipment.
The Freeport currently handles 20 weekly mainline services, providing network links to 130 ports around the world, and received more than 2,200 vessels over the past 12 months, according to the press statement.