Entrepreneurs interested in developing a logistics hub on 45,000 square metres of land in Ħal-Far were this morning invited to submit their ideas to the government for consideration.
Speaking at a press conference launching the request for proposal, Economy Minister Chris Cardona said that the project formed part of the government's vision to turn logistics into a key pillar for the Maltese economy, with the hub serving as a free zone or customs warehouse.
“Logistics, together with education and life sciences are sectors that need to sustain the economic growth that our country is experiencing," the minister said.
He said Malta Enterprise was in the process of identifying other sites that could be utilised for similar purposes.
The RFP states that the eventual operator will be handed a non-renewable 65-year lease of the site. The hub can rise as high as 25 metres and go no more than 8 metres underground. Applicants have been given until January 13, 2017 to submit their proposals.
Interested parties will be expected to submit proposals detailing the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the hub. The site identified is presently being used as a customs groupage complex and this project aims to incorporate the existing operation.
The government has met with the 34 operators currently running the groupage complex and assured them that their operations and working conditions would remain unaltered, the Economy Ministry said in a statement.
Dr Cardona said the site had been picked as it lies halfway between the Freeport and Malta International Airport, while also being close to a major industrial zone. He also referred to studies carried out before the international call which confirmed that the site's potential as a logistics centre.
The document of the request for proposal is available on the website of the Privatisation Unit.