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CMA CGM launches Malta-flagged ship worth €107m

Date: 13/10/2010

French shipping giant CMA CGM launched its largest Malta-registered containership on Friday 1st October, an investment worth €107 million.

The ship was launched in a grand ceremony that saw the CMA CGM Pegasus being christened by the Prime Minister’s wife, Kate Gonzi.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi praised the company, which has operated the Freeport since 2004, and invested €120 million in the terminals over and above plans to invest another €95 million in other projects.

Dr Gonzi described the Freeport as a success story of private investment. “Your belief in Malta’s potential as a hub in the Mediterranean is in line with the national vision of making Malta a transportation and advanced logistics centre as identified by Vision 2015,” he said.

Turning to the Pegasus, Dr Gonzi said it was a “fitting symbol for Malta’s investment attractiveness, which has continued to improve over the past few years and months”.

The government’s “timely” policy cushioned the impact of the international economic crisis and foreign direct investment kept coming to Malta, he said. This, in turn, led to the island enjoying faster growth figures than most European countries. “Second quarter growth figures show stronger and faster growth than both European and euro averages, with a 3.9 per cent growth compared to 1.9 per cent European and euro area average,” Dr Gonzi said.

The ship, 363 metres long and 45.6 metres wide, has thelatest environmentally-friendly technologies such an electronically-controlled engine and an optimised hull design that improves the vessel’s hydro­­dynamics.

The Pegasus will be used on the French Asia line and has a capacity of 11,400 containers.

In 2008, the government extended the concession of the Freeport to CMA CGM to 65 from 30 years. Since then, the company has announced a huge expansion project that includes the extension of Terminal One by 132 metres and increasing the water depth to 17 from 15.5 metres in Terminal Two. The investment also includes new quayside cranes that can handle twin 40-inch containers and upgrading the rails in Terminals One and Two.

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