The voice of maritime shipping industry was raised from the Mediterranean hub
The Malta Maritime Summit 2018 provided interesting exchanges of views and several proposed solutions to the main problems shipping of the third millennium has to tackle
Floriana (Malta) – Malta Maritime Summit 2018 organized for the second time by GM International and sponsored by Transport Malta – i.e. the island's Ministry of Transports – was attended by over 300 participants who appreciated the debates, meetings and networking activities held at the Hotel Excelsior.
This intense week included evening events in beautiful historic palaces and on the futuristic mega-yacht belonging to the guest of honour, the Greek entrepreneur George Procopiou (Dynacom-Dynagas) and covered all the issues related to contemporary shipping ranging from the impact of Brexit to that of the Chinese BRI, from block chain to finance, from blue economy to green shipping, from autonomous ships to legal issues related to arbitrations.
“Our main goal is promoting dialogue and debate about strategies, opportunities, responsibilities and challenges within our sector in order to reach conclusions and solutions to submit to national and supranational institutions, as well as to stakeholders themselves”, the creator of this great think-tank John Gauci-Maistre explained.
“Being a maritime hub at the forefront of the international registry, of finance and favoured taxation for enterprises, as well as of cryptocurrencies – during the same week they also held an international conference in La Valletta focusing on block-chain, ed. - Malta is the ideal platform for this open talk, also because it is the European Capital of Culture 2018, and in 2017 it had the six months EU presidency”.
“2018 is a record year for our flag, with 9,000 vessels amounting to 77 million GT, ranking sixth worldwide. The increase since 2013 amounts to 97%, and we have also obtained the quality stamp as a result of Brussels' approval of the Maltese tonnage tax regime. We also boast thriving activities in the cruise sector, with a steady growth in the number of passengers, in the mega-yachts industry – especially due to the approval of the law of 2006 – and in the bunkering, container and naval repairs sectors”, Malta's new minister of transports Ian Borg pointed out during the opening session.
“We provide the EU with certainties, sharing an unquestionable view: shipping is the backbone of world trade, and the contribution of this industry to the EU economy is significant, also considering that in the 28 countries blue economy amounts to a 500 billion euro GDP and 5.4 million of jobs.
However, this must not prevent us from boosting development. We are at a crossroads and we need more dialogue among all the stakeholders within the logistics chain: we need high quality shipping focusing on environmental issues; we have to show our determination to cooperate and face all the challenges related to our sector, which are related also to new issues such as the increasing presence of women. As a matter of fact, we have just celebrated the first 5 women with the rank of Master Mariner in the Maltese fleet”, Borg concluded, emphasising the transport objectives set out in the Valletta Declaration to be achieved within 2020: competitiveness, digitalization, decarbonization.
WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosious and the association's past president Angie Hartmaan took part in the sessions held on the first day focusing on the increasing number of women in the maritime sector.
Speaking of women, Cypriot Deputy minister of shipping Natasa Pilides was the counterpart of her Maltese colleague, as a proof of the fact that small and ambitious countries have a new ruling class focusing on shipping in order to stand out in the international scene and drive the Old Continent's recovery.
Graduated in Oxford, speaking 5 languages, good looking, appointed six months ago with the creation of a new Ministry, Pilides reports directly to the Premier, thus acting as a proper minister.
The two young ministers, together with their Maltese counterpart, i.e. Alternate Minister of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy Nektarios Santorinios, were welcomed on the 106 meters yacht Dream recently built in a minor Greek shipyard on behalf of the tycoon Procopiou, for a Tripartite Meeting resulting in a sort of “shipping alliance”.
“We had already met last spring, but we consolidated this Malta-Cyprus-Greece partnership among the leading maritime nations in Europe. Our cooperation will have several priorities: making shipping more competitive, improving the sector's contribution to global economy and reducing the impact of shipping activities on the environment”, Borg reported to the international press after the meeting.
Answering to Ship2Shore's question, the Maltese Minister of Transports explained that the issue of illegal migration was not dealt with: “We shared a common view about the three main issues in order to maintain a leading position in the maritime industry encouraging on board careers, and to keep European shipping on the world's map. As concerns the problem related to illegal migrants, we leave it to the individual sense of responsibility to receive migrants rescued at sea, although we repeat that our Country, as well as other countries, is under no legal obligation to do so. A more consistent and appropriate distribution of migrants among all EU Countries, in compliance with the agreements in force, would be a better solution”.