The Malta Maritime Forum is proposing an incoming administration after the next General Election to appoint a Minister solely responsible for Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy. Likewise, it is recommending the re-establishment of a national entity solely responsible for the maritime industry.
The above encompassed the flagship recommendations of the Malta Maritime Forum in a special document submitted and discussed with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition on 15 July in separate meetings held at Castille and the Parliament Building respectively. The initiative was taken as part of the Forum’s mission to serve as a maritime cluster and a common platform for the maritime industry in Malta for the purposes of influencing national maritime policy and facilitating communication between Industry players and the country’s policy-makers.
In this context, the Forum insisted that political leaders and national authorities offer their full, unrelenting and concrete backing to local and foreign investors in the maritime industry. The Forum advised authorities to consult wherever necessary with individual operators and with the MMF itself on matters of policy which are material to investment decisions. Political leaders were reminded that Malta and key private sector maritime operators are competing in a global village and they expect nothing less than investor-friendly conditions. At the same time, the Forum called for a clear and properly communicated programme of infrastructural works within the ports of Malta with deadlines for completion.
In its document, the Forum acknowledged Malta’s National Transport Strategy but noted the absence of a specific policy document dedicated to the Maritime Industry. Such a document is required to provide statements of principle, objectives and direction to the country. The document would be aimed at spelling out Government’s vision and goals in the maritime sector are for the immediate, medium and long-term. It commented that besides contributing to ensure that the Industry is governed in an efficient, consistent, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner, a properly implemented National Maritime Transport Policy can give a country the tools it needs to harness the full potential of the blue economy.
Whilst warning against underestimating the strategic and economic importance of the maritime industry to the country, the Forum made further recommendations regarding education and skills availability in the Industry as well as about reviewing some outdated regulatory/enforcement parameters and work practices within the maritime industry which inhibit the development of new business.
With this in mind, the Malta Maritime Forum recommended a more maritime-centred approach to national policy by giving more focus and importance to matters relating to the maritime Industry and those who invest in it.