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Malta is looking to facilitate trade and sea transport in the Mediterranean to boost the economy

Date: 13/11/2014

In his opening statement at the MEDNET Communication Group Meeting, the Parliamentary Secretary for Competiveness and Economic Growth, Dr José Herrera, stated that the aim of the conference was to discuss the facilitation of trade and sea transport in the Mediterranean.

Herrera referred to the consultation process on an Integrated Maritime Policy launched in July.

Herrera explained that through in the consultation logistics was identified as one of the four Blue Growth pillars together with food services and energy. The Parliamentary Secretary emphasised that the aim was to identify areas for economic expansion. He continued by saying that economic growth had to be in an environmentally sustainable manner.

For successful logistics Herrera said that stability and reliability were essential components and the MEDNET project would make significant contributions towards this goal. He added that the simplification and harmonisation of maritime and port procedures throughout the Mediterranean region was necessary to increase sustainable shipping.

According to the Worlds Bank’s Logistics Performance Index none of the Mediterranean countries place in the top 10 index. Only four Mediterranean countries place in the top 40 index. The country ranking in the 1st place is Germany where it only takes one day to clear customs while Malta ranks in 51st place with customs clearance taking 3 days.

The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index is based on infrastructure, timeliness, international shipments, customs, logistics competence, tracking and tracing.

The EU commission is aware of these bottlenecks and is encouraging MEDNET to find answers. These solutions should also bring about a shift from the road network and therefore reduce adverse environmental impacts.

José Herrera commended the monitoring and data collection studies and the creation of an “Observatory of Port Operations in the Mediterranean” to identify suitable trade routes and to find a logistics network that would lead to efficient pathways to increase intermodal transport and make sure that ports were suitably equipped with the necessary infrastructure.

Dr Herrera noted with satisfaction the Maltese contribution in this project led by Transport Malta. He continued by mentioning the creation of a National Single Window which was in line with the EU Ports Formalities Directive which is also a means of showing tangible support to the business environment and is part of an enabling framework to foster growth opportunities.

José Herrera reiterated that efforts should not duplicate existing business processes or similar efforts executed by other entities. In fact the Integrated Maritime Policy seeked to promote maritime clusters and one of them was the Port Community Cluster.

The Parliamentary Secretary closed his statement by insisting that an integrative approach was the essence of the Integrated Maritime Policy with all stakeholders; government and private enterprises sitting together to achieve the best outcome for the economy and the environment.


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