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Six bids for shipbuilding site

Date: 09/10/2014

Six bids for the transformation of the Marsa Shipbuilding site into a maritime hub are being evaluated, according to the Ministry for the Economy.

One submission proposes using the whole of the 175,000 square metre site as a service centre for the oil and gas industry while the other submissions concern particular plots for the servicing of yachts.

The “tentative target date” for the choice of the preferred bidder was the second half of October, a ministry spokesman told The Business Observer.

In March, 28 consortia had shown interest in the government’s idea to transform the strategically located site used by the former State-owned shipbuilding company into a maritime hub.

The Privatisation Unit had identified four categories under which interested parties could submit bids: the oil and gas industry and logistics; ship repair, heavy industry, yachting and logistics; super yacht refit and repair facility and an offshore energy regional support base; and servicing of yachts, supply of hard-standing facilities and other services.

In the case of the first three categories, the projects had to make full use of the site while projects submitted under the fourth category could make use of plots within the area.

The categories provided the best space for added value opportunities, investment in human resour­ces and the creation of a significant amount of jobs, Economy Minister Chris Cardona had said.

The oil and gas industry category was identified by the Privatisation Unit as one with the biggest potential for effective use of the site. This category would see the setting up of a rig-servicing centre and an academic institution for teaching and training.

The ministry spokesman said two technical sub-committees were appointed to help the evaluation and adjudication committee that will recommend the preferred bidder.

“One sub-committee has experts related to financial matters and the other is made up of experts in maritime technical affairs. They are currently preparing individual reports focusing on their respective expertise,” the spokesman added.

The shipbuilding site was hived off from Malta Shipyards when the former State-owned ship repair facility was privatised four years ago.

The area is made up of a dry dock, extensive queues, two large cranes and a big shed that used to serve as a ship building workshop.

Past attempts to privatise the site always fell flat, including a bid under the previous administration when the government turned down a proposal by Valletta Gateway Terminals, a port management company, to use the area to stack containers.

Since last year the road that runs through the site was temporarily opened for traffic to ease the burden on Aldo Moro Road but different areas of the site have also been leased out on a temporary basis for one-off jobs, including the servicing of a rig earlier this year by a private company.

In November the large shed will be the venue of the Junior Euro­vision Song Contest as Malta plays host to the rest of Europe.

Source: Times of Malta

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