A land reclamation deal that will expand one of the freeport's two terminals was signed on Thursday following a unanimous parliamentary agreement to transfer the land to the Malta Freeport Corporation.

The regulating body will now lease the land to Malta Freeport Terminals, the private company that operates the freeport. 

The deal promises to “future-proof” the port's operations and reduce burdens on Birżebbuġa residents, a news conference was told on Thursday.

The 30,000 square metre land reclamation project will extend the north quay at the Freeport’s Terminal Two by 176 metres and the west quay by 195 metres.

Photo: Malta Freeport TerminalsPhoto: Malta Freeport Terminals

As a result, the freeport will be able to handle the world's largest container ships.

“The Terminal Two extension will be win-win for everyone: for our facility’s capability to handle the world’s largest container ships with maximum efficiency, for the Birżebbuġa residents and for local importers and exporters,” Malta Freeport Terminals CEO Alex Montebello said.

Ships coming and leaving the freeport sail to and from 120 ports worldwide, 50 of which are in the Mediterranean.

As part of the deal, the Freeport management agreed to renounce its right to install loud quay cranes on the west quay at Terminal One, metres away from residents, and operate the terminal only during the day.

€300,000 will also be donated for social projects in Birżebbuġa.  

The project, set to be completed by the end of 2025, will create 165 new jobs, Montebello said. Currently, more than 1,500 people work at the freeport.

“The freeport’s success is Malta’s success,” he said.

The freeport, which handles almost three million TEU containers per year, provides direct employment for more than 1,500 people and contributes €170 million – two per cent of GDP.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said the deal is a “critical investment for Malta’s economic growth”. 

He said the freeport is not only beneficial for the economy but also the main route from where Malta got its raw materials.

The deal comes after parliament unanimously agreed to transfer the land to the Malta Freeport Corporation in February.

PN MPs David Agius and Ivan Castillo attended the event. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us