The decision of the two leading shipping consortia, to choose Malta Freeport Terminals (MFT) as their main transshipment hub in the central Mediterranean came as shot in the arm for Malta.
Recently, the ‘2M’ Alliance made up of Maersk Line
and Mediterranean Shipping Company
(MSC) and the ‘Ocean Three Alliance’ composed of CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) have chosen Malta Freeport Terminals as their main transshipment hub in the Central Mediterranean.
A total of 128 ports across the globe can now be reached from Malta Freeport Terminals. “This was truly a crucial achievement for our company which would not have been attained if Malta Freeport Terminals did not offer the carriers a competitive and efficient package encompassing all the various players within the Maltese maritime industry,” CEO Alex Montebello said.
This is a significant accomplishment for Malta Freeport Terminals which clearly attests that the Freeport’s facilities offer carriers the required infrastructure and equipment to operate the largest vessels.
“It is now imperative that everyone at Malta Freeport works as a team to ensure that the high level of service expected by these key players within the container industry is effectively met,” Alex said.
According to Times of Malta, given the size of these entities and the anticipated financial impact that this development will have on the world economic growth, it is a highly commendable achievement for MFT and for Malta that these two leading consortia have chosen MFT as their main transshipment hub in the central Mediterranean.
"Such developments are not the fruit of chance or coincidence. Rather, these are the results of years of strategic marketing, judicious directions and above all a consistent and credible track record of the performance of the terminal," observe industry analysts.
They say that the positive experience of maritime clusters in other established and not-so-established maritime centers should serve as a beacon for Malta to steer itself on an even steadier course in this important industry and economic activity.
However, there are issues related to union recognition at Freeport need to be tackled for a sustained growth. Port unions like GWU and the UHM still arguing over the verification process which needs to be held to establish which of the two unions has the majority of workers.
While the GWU is claiming that it has now the majority of Freeport workers on its books and wants the verification process to be held immediately, the UHM is stating that it is still the recognized union and the verification process should be held according to normal procedures and law. Both unions are now threatening industrial action at the Freeport.