The Malta Maritime Forum welcomed the surge in users of ferry services over the month of February.  As reported in the media, the shift was mainly due to the service becoming free of charge for holders of the Tal-Linja card.  This measure, therefore, proved a great success in that it managed to shift a further 42,000 people from the road to the water raising the total custom to almost 110,000 commuters who are now travelling across our ports via the sea as opposed to driving around the ports by road.

The MMF has, in fact, long been advocating for similar measures with a view to increase the share of waterborne traffic as part of the solution towards decarbonisation and traffic congestion.  The Forum has also publicly recommended the introduction of a Ro-Ro service to transport cargo between the Malta Freeport and the Grand Harbour to the Port of Mġarr in Gozo possibly with a stop-over in the north of Malta.    Although precise statistics are not readily available, from reliable indications the MMF is confident that such a service is both feasible and sustainable whilst alleviating lines of heavy vehicles from main arterial roads particularly in the North of Malta.

The MMF is particularly active on this front frequently discussing its recommendations with the local authorities and also with its counterparts in Brussels including the European Network of Maritime Clusters (ENMC) and Waterborne Technology Platform (WTP) both of which actively promote a shift in traffic from road to waterborne with a view to alleviate congestion and pollution thereby achieving the objectives of the European Union’s Green Deal Package.

The Forum embraces a wealth of knowledge and expertise on various maritime issues and specialisations within its membership and is more than willing to elaborate on its ideas as necessary with the competent authorities.

Karin Grech
Author: Karin Grech