Fuel is one of those things it’s easy to take for granted. But from the petrol in our cars, to the petroleum needed to fly us to and from those international business meetings, fuel is a major industry and, locally, Enemed is at the very centre of that.
Enemed, which launched in 2014, is the main importer, distributor and reseller of fuels in Malta. It was actually formed following the split of the then-Enemalta Corporation – at which point the Electricity Division was transformed into Enemalta plc, while the Petroleum Division became Enemed Co Ltd. To this day, Enemed is 100 per cent owned by Government, but operates on a completely commercial basis and does not receive any Government subsidies or subventions. It’s an entity that’s vital to the local fuel industry – and new investment is set to underline that.
Explaining how the organisation works and the services it provides, Ing. Allan Micallef, Executive Head of the company’s Aviation Division, said that Enemed provides fuels for both the inland market and its aviation sector. “In that respect, we provide the best-quality diesel and petrol for vehicles and vessels, while also catering for Malta’s aviation needs,” he said. “In addition, Enemed offers storage facilities to third-party companies who mainly operate in the marine sector.”
However, rather than merely providing a service, Ing. Micallef explained that the company is dedicated to offering an ‘experience’ to its end users. “When it comes to the inland market – in other words, fuel stations – we recently launched our franchise product, whereby chosen stations follow strict procedures when selling our products to clients, and the quality checks carried out on our fuels are second to none. In fact, Enemed has invested in a new laboratory to guarantee top-quality consistency. This means our clients are assured that our products are the best on the local market, and also know they have the backing of scientific investigations should any issues with our products occur.”
Focusing specifically on the aviation market, Enemed works directly with the various airlines that fly to Malta, as well as the international service companies that use its services when they have private flights that travel through Malta International Airport. “Enemed’s aviation division is actually divided in two,” Ing. Micallef continued. “One handles the storage and distribution of aviation fuel, and the other is focused on into-plane operations.”
One of the major projects the company is currently working on is the upgrading of its storage facilities, so as to eliminate Birzebbuga and Wied Dalam from the aviation fuel route. Upon completion, this €15 million investment will increase the amount of storage available, and incorporate the functions which are currently carried out in Birzebbuga and Wied Dalam. “This means that aviation fuel will be pumped directly from Has-Saptan – the ocean terminal where vessels discharge their fuel – to MIA, where new tanks will be used to dry and settle fuel before it is certified for delivery to aircraft,” Ing. Micallef said.
Meanwhile, the into-plane fuelling operations are run by a dedicated team of 40, which operates round the clock every day of the year. “Aircraft refuelling is carried out using dedicated aircraft refuelling bowsers,” Ing. Micallef continued. “These bowsers drive up to the aircraft and deliver fuel through a final filtration stage to guarantee that the fuel uplifted to aircraft is completely free of any water content. The amount of fuel uplifted is, ultimately, based on the captain’s decision, and is usually determined by the load on the aircraft, the flight distance, the weather conditions, and whether the aircraft also needs to cater for the return flight.”
On top of that, a dedicated maintenance team takes care of the preventive and emergency maintenance on both the refuelling vehicles and the plant equipment. “All of our operations and maintenance activities are regulated by international standards as required by the industry,” Ing. Micallef said. “In our case, we base our activities on the Joint Inspection Group (JIG) standard, and are audited annually by international experts working to this standard. These yearly audits give our international customers peace of mind that our services and products are reliable and safe.”
And those products and services are certainly in demand – not least because of the increasing air traffic through MIA. “Growing numbers reflect our workload,” Ing. Micallef said. “Most aircraft refuel every time they take off from Malta and, in the summer months, planes depart one after another. Fortunately our team is fantastic and, thanks to them, no plane in Malta has ever been delayed because it wasn’t refuelled on time.”
Now, beyond the infrastructure works already underway to modernise its storage facilities, automate some of its operations and, crucially, introduce environmental protection measures, Enemed is investing in its operational infrastructure. “In the case of the Aviation Division, this primarily involves the replacement of our fleet of aircraft refuellers – which currently stands at 10 refuellers for JetA1 fuel, and one for Avgas 100LL. This year saw the arrival of three brand-new refuellers that were purchased through a call for tenders on custom specifications. These refuellers replaced three of the old ones, and our plan now is to replace the entire fleet by 2020, at a cost of €400,000 each.”
Finally, there is also a firm focus on quality and training. “Our Aviation Division was already ISO 9001:2015 certified and, this year, we extended that certification to all activities across all the divisions. Next, we plan to also obtain our ISO 14001 certification in environmental management company-wide,” Ing. Micallef said. “Then, last but not least, we have embarked on an employee development programme to raise the level of our employees, both when it comes to technical ability, as well as customer care, quality management and continuous improvement. Together we believe these elements will underline the company vision to make Enemed ‘the preferred choice for our customers, shareholders and team’.”
This article originally appeared in The Malta Business Observer