Dredging Programme (Co-financed by the EU)

In view of the various developments being generated within the Mediterranean containerisation market, significant opportunities remain for the transhipment trade within this region. These developments come in response to international trade and shipping lines worldwide are increasingly investing in larger container ships to meet the demands of the market. Indeed, container vessels with a carrying capacity of 16,000 TEUs, 18,000 TEUs and larger are no longer considered container vessels of the future. The world’s largest containerships with a carrying capacity of 18,000  TEUs (Triple-E) were launched by Maersk Line in July 2013. The largest vessels handled to-date by Malta Freeport Terminals have a capacity of 16,000 TEUs. Indeed, the 16,000 TEU containerships CMA CGM Marco Polo, CMA CGM Alexander Von Humboldt and CMA CGM Jules Verne were all deployed on the FAL 1 service which calls at the Freeport on a weekly basis.

It is to be noted that Malta Freeport Terminals can handle containerships with a capacity of 18,000 TEUs after the  full completion of the intensive dredging programme undertaken of all its mainline berths and the fairway to -17m LAT enabling clients to berth vessels alongside with a 16m draught. Part of this investment was co-financed under the TEN-T Programme, NON-MIP of 2006 with the co-financing rate by the EU beeing of of 10%.

Indeed, according to Action No. 2006-MT-92502-P, the project's original prime objective was to upgrade the maritime access and alongside the mainline berths to allow container vessels to berth with a water depth of 15.5 metres LAT. As part of Action No. 2006-MT-92502-P, the vessel manoeuvring area was also dredged and extended through the creation of another turning circle between the inner fairway and before the basin leading to the Container Terminals, namely Terminal One and Terminal Two. The project was undertaken over four main phases.

However, as Malta Freeport Terminals is a premier Mediteranean transhipment port and is operating within a highly competitive market, it was imperative for the Company to further extend its dredging programme to boost the Freeport’s position to accommodate at all its mainline berths the largest container vessels afloat and those which are still being manufactured. In this respect, the water depth at all its mainline berths and the fairway was to be increased to -17.00 m LAT. This phase of the dredging programme was undertaken outside the scope of Action No. 2006-MT-92502-P.

Within this ambit, Malta Freeport carried out dredging works of the North Quay of Terminal Two and the access and berthing alongside Terminal Two North Quay were dredged and upgraded to -17 metres LAT. This development is enabling the Freeport to berth vessels alongside Terminal Two North Quay with a 16 metres draught.  The Port’s inner fairway, vessel manoeuvring area covering the approaches of Terminal Two South Quay and Terminal One North Quay and alongside these quays were also dredged to -17 metres LAT allowing an access and maximum berthing draught of 16 metres.

The Company is confident that the investment measures being pursued are providing the ideal business climate for its clients to expand their operations from the Port and to secure new business as it arises.