Malta Freeport Terminals today showcased a huge €31 million investment in new equipment and infrastructural works during a visit by Tourism Minister Dr Konrad Mizzi.
Dr Mizzi was shown 15 newly-acquired Kone Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) – that stand over 27 metres high and will be fully operational in March – as well as other yard equipment including 67 new tractors and trailers that have all been ordered over the past 12 months.
The new cranes, which complement another 50 already in use at the Freeport, were acquired from world-leading manufacturers KCI Kone Cranes. As well as being faster than conventional RTGs, they are also safer to operate – featuring an anti-collision system – and are more energy efficient.
They are also fitted with safety alarms that are considerably quieter than the beeper alarms currently in use on older cranes and the Freeport is planning to install this new technology throughout its fleet of RTGs, which will have significant benefits for Birzebbuga residents.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the minister, Malta Freeport Terminals CEO Alex Montebello said: “This investment comes at a time when the Terminals are operating at elevated capacity in a difficult and highly competitive environment.
Despite these challenges, the Freeport once again broke records again in terms of throughput in 2018, handling 3.31 million TEU containers. This is also thanks to the dedication of our committed personnel – without whom the results we’ve registered would not have been possible.
“Since we are already operating at high capacity, the next step is to ensure our terminals are able to accommodate four million containers. We are seeking to achieve this objective in a number of ways, including extending the Terminal Two North Quay which is currently at tendering stage.
We strongly believe that investment is a catalyst for growth and is necessary to ensure we are able to meet the ever-growing challenges and maintain our position as a major transshipment hub.” (cont…)
Dr Mizzi highlighted the importance of the Freeport’s contribution towards Malta’s economy and competitiveness. The minister stressed that such investment had been carried out not only to improve the Freeport’s performance, but also to improve the air and noise level in Birzebbuga.
Dr Mizzi explained how the new high-tech state-of-the art cranes are energy efficient and operate with low-emissions. He added that in order to reduce sound levels as much as possible, new cranes were purchased equipped with rubber wheels and white noise sounders that are gentler on the ear, compared with conventional beeper alarms.
Dr Mizzi also discussed additional corporate social responsibility initiatives with the Freeport to embellish Birzebbuga.
The Freeport currently handles 20 weekly mainline services, providing network links to 130 ports around the world, and received more than 2,200 vessels over the past 12 months.