Shipping and Bunkering Business Section
This Business Section falls under the Services Providers Economic Group.
Mr Ernest Sullivan - Chairman
Mr Karl Gollcher - Vice-Chairman
Mr Michael Cooper
Mr. Leslie Brooks
Mr Peter Sullivan
Ms Johanna Calleja
Representatives of the Executive Committees of the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Association of Ship Agents met with Dr. A. Gruppetta, Director-General (Agriculture and Fisheries Regulation), Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs (MRRA) on 26th June. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Pre-Notification requirements for consignments of veterinary interest.
During the meeting Dr. Gruppetta confirmed that ship agents would have to submit the documentation required by the MRRA. Ship agents are to report only for transhipment cargo ie: containers which are discharged in Malta and then reloaded onto another vessel. No submissions are required from ship agents for containers remaining on board or domestic containers.
In the case of the domestic containers it is the responsibility of the importer to provide the MRRA with 72 hours prior notification of arrival.
Ship agents are urged to register as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) with the MRRA. To avoid any confusion, this is different to the AEO registration with the Customs Department.
As in previous years the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section continued to work closely with the Association of Ship Agents.
Valletta Cruise Port: In April 2011 Valletta Cruise Port (VCP) introduced a new charge for berthing and landing of conveyances. Meetings were held and it had been established that as the quay belonged to VCP they were well within their rights to raise this charge. A meeting had been held with the Immigration Police in order to discuss the possibility of landing being made at an alternative quay. To date the matter has not been resolved.
Mooring Men at Oiltanking: As from 15th June 2011, ship agents were no longer responsible for transport of Mooring Men at Oiltanking.
Tug Malta: The Executive Committee continues to pursue the removal of the Short Notice Fee. This fee is considered to be arbitrary as a tug boat was available around the clock. The matter had been discussed with the Chairman of Transport Malta without a favourable outcome. It was noted that even charges for cancellation and waiting were at the discretion of Tug Malta.
Bunkering Facilities: Several members had complained that bunkering in Malta was earning itself a bad reputation overseas due to the attitude of suppliers. The Executive Committee had communicated the complaints to the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications as the problems were affecting the entire package of services provided by Maltese ship agents. A meeting was held with the Malta Resources Authority and the Customs Department. It was agreed that all discrepancies should be reported to Customs for their follow-up.
Import Control System: Early in the year a presentation on the Import Control System was delivered by Customs officials for the benefit of members. This system is required for cargo from outside the EU entering the EU with Malta as the first port of entry. It is the responsibility of the shipping line to ensure compliance. It was agreed that a circular would be sent to members in order to point out the importance of ensuring that all ships calling in Malta comply with Customs requirements.
As in previous years the Shipping and Bunkering Business Section had continued to work with the Association of Ship Agents.
Electronic Conveyances - During 2010 the Executive Committee and Department of Customs, Immigration Police, Transport Malta and Port Health came to an agreement whereby electronic clearance of offshore conveyances is acceptable. Meetings were held with Port Health and the Department of Customs and correspondence exchanged with Immigration Police. This electronic procedure is a crucial timesaving factor for ship agents.
Malta Freeport Terminal - Meetings were held with officials from the Malta Freeport in order to discuss gate related processes. Agreement was reached whereby these processes could be carried out electronically. Changes to software were required by both the Freeport and agents in order to implement this simple procedure.
Self Regulation for Ship Agents - The Executive Committee is studying options for self-regulation among ship agents. Information from overseas organisations was being sought.
Tug Malta - A persistent problem under continued discussion by the Executive Committee is the Tug Malta Short Notice Charge. Tug Malta raises a Short Notice Charge if a tug is ordered less than three hours before it is required. The issue was brought to the attention of Transport Malta Chairman, Mr. Mark Portelli who had agreed that this charge is arbitrary especially in view of the fact that a tug boat is on stand-by around the clock, seven days a week. Following the meeting the roster for tugs had been obtained and sent to all members. Ship agents were therefore in a position to confirm that Tug Malta was charging a short notice fee even when the manned tug boat was being utilised.
In a letter received from Transport Malta in August it was noted that a meeting had been held between Transport Malta and Tug Malta and procedures confirmed. The short notice period required for ordering tug boats would continue to apply as established in the Towage (Tariff of Rates) Regulations (SL 499.49); and that neither waiting time nor cancellation charges would be levied in the case of the manned tugs provided that the cancellation was made with Tug Malta before the tug had left its berth to carry out the operation.
This was contrary to what had been discussed with the Chairman of Transport Malta when the Executive Committee had been given to understand that the short notice fee was to be dropped. It was to be suggested that the Towage (Tariff of Rates) Regulations SL 499.49 should be modified to comply with the new towage set-up. The matter will be pursued.
Port Tariff Revision - In December 2009 it was announced that Port Dues were to be drastically revised. Following representations made by the Executive Committees and with the support of the Malta Chamber’s President and Economic Groups, Transport Malta agreed to delay the increase until January 2011. The increase was of forty-five per cent (45%) spread over a three year period. Transport Malta had also acceded to the request made by the Section on behalf of Cruise Liner Operations for the fifty per cent (50%) discount applicable to cruise liners would be retained throughout 2011.
Foremen - The Section had obtained clarification from Transport Malta as to whether ship agents were allowed to employ a foreman of their choice outside the VGT and Freeport. Transport Malta had replied stating that licensed Foremen of Port Workers were organized in three groups: those who could work at the Malta Freeport Terminals or the Central Cement Silo Terminals and those employed with the Ports Foremen Co-operative Limited. Only the latter group was authorized to work at terminals outside the previously two indicated terminals.
Working Group on Cruise Liner Operations in Malta - Mr. Joseph Gerada was nominated as the Malta Chamber’s representative on this Working Group.
Import Control System - An information meeting on the system was held for the benefit of members and their staff.
The Executive Committee continues to pursue a number of outstanding issues, including Tally of Goods in Valletta and the Border Inspection Post.