The Malta Maritime Forum noted Malta Freeport Terminals’s €20 million investment in new German technology quay cranes. These cranes will enable the Freeport to accommodate CMA CGM’s super containerships powered by Liquefied Natural Gas due to their capability to stack rows 11-containers-high onto these vessels of gigantic proportions.
Whilst investment is always good news from a commercial and future business viability perspective, this development is also positive from an environmental point of view at a national level. Thanks to the investment in these cranes which shall come on stream by the summer months, the Malta Freeport has already been selected amongst the few ports of call of CMA CGM’s Jacques Saade, which became the world’s largest LNG-powered containership upon its launch six months ago in October. This means that as a result of this investment, less-polluting vessels will start utilising the services of our harbours on a weekly basis, replacing others with larger carbon foot-prints, resulting in cleaner air for the surrounding areas of Birżebbuġa with immediate effect.
The role and contribution of the Malta Freeport to the economy are indeed substantial in terms of capital formation, foreign currency earnings and employment. Suffice to mention the 1,600 people directly employed by the Terminal, the Port Workers and Security personnel stationed at the Freeport. Besides, a further approximate figure of 900 Clearing Agents (Burdnara) operate from the Freeport. In this context, this development bodes well for the continued and sustained success story of Malta Freeport Terminals as well as for the achievement of Malta’s Sustainable Development Goals within the context of the Islands’ international obligations with the targets set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for “a better and more sustainable future for all".
In the same vein, and in line with its determination to champion the energy transition in the shipping sector and become carbon-neutral by 2050, CMA CGM – a shareholder in Malta Freeport Terminals – has commissioned a total of nine super LNG-powered containerships. The Malta Maritime Forum understands that all these ships will be calling at Malta sooner rather than later so therefore the economic and environmental benefits are set to increase geometrically in the foreseeable future. It is also worth considering this development in light of the Government’s investment in the area of provision of onShore power supply facilities in Maltese ports.