A recent event organized by the Grimaldi Group provided an opportunity to take stock of the health of the Maltese maritime industry and the prominence of Italian companies in this sector.
The maritime industry today represents an important pillar of the archipelago’s economy. Suffice it to say that in 2021 alone, the Maltese shipping registry generated revenue of €24 million, or 14 percent of the country’s GDP, with 9,300 vessels registered in Malta (2.2 percent over the previous year). The tonnage of vessels registered in Malta, or the total carrying capacity of all vessels registered in Malta, increased from 49 million tons in 2012 to 86.1 million tons at the end of 2021.
However, as mentioned during the event, there is still a lot of potential to be tapped. Indeed, Malta is an island state on the periphery of the European continent, with geographic factors that make it dependent on maritime logistics to connect to the continent, unlike Europe’s many competitors that can also rely on rail and road transport.
Maritime lines and the Birzebugga Freeport, in this sense, play a strategic function that can sometimes go beyond commercial interests. Suffice it to say that Malta imports about 70 percent of the food consumed by its population, without considering other and non-first necessity goods: this represents, for sea freight companies such as Grimaldi, a great growth factor, as well as a responsibility, to help ensure that the island’s population has all the products they need.
Another aspect relevant to the present and future of the maritime industry is investment in sustainable development. And on this, too, Grimaldi continues to make giant strides: most recently, the christening of the ECO Malta, the sixth Green Generation class vessel, which, in addition to being the world’s largest ro-ro unit for short sea shipping (and thus better able to meet the needs of companies in terms of frequency and availability), is also the most environmentally friendly in terms of fuel consumption, both while sailing and during port stops. It has twice the carrying capacity of its predecessor, but consumes the same amount of fuel. This means that at full capacity, CO2 emissions per transported unit are cut in half. While in port, in fact, the Eco Malta is zero-emission: it uses electricity stored in mega lithium batteries with a total power output of 5 MWH, which are recharged while sailing through mast generators and solar panels. It is also equipped with an exhaust gas cleaning system to reduce sulfur and particulate emissions.
Company growth, then, comes through investments in strategic areas and attention to the green transition: opportunities that Grimaldi has been able to make the most of, reaffirming the pride of Made in Italy in the world.
For more information or advice on Malta-related opportunities in the maritime industry, contact the Malta Business Agency team by filling out the form below.