MSC plans ferry service from Freeport
Grandi Navi Veloci, acquired by MSC Group in 2010, hopes to start offering a passenger service regularly from Malta in the near future.
Mario Aponte, managing director of MSC Malta Seafarers Co. Ltd, said yesterday that GNV already offers a twice weekly freight service from the Malta Freeport. “We hope that in the near future, the Freeport will get all the necessary permits to allow passengers to embark our ferries”.
Speaking during the MSC Meraviglia’s maiden call in the Grand Harbour, Mr Aponte explained that other freeport terminals already offer such services. There already exists a legal framework in Europe, so we look forward to supporting the local trade and having a more positive impact on the economy in the near future”, he said.
The ferry service would offer the Maltese an alternative means of transportation to mainland Europe while at the same time bring over travellers who would spend more than just a day in Malta.
Speaking about the Meraviglia, Mr Aponte said: “It is fair to say that the Meraviglia, which carries the Maltese flag, together with another 18 MSC container ships, has finally arrived home.”
Mr Aponte spoke about the “excellent relations” existing between Malta and MSC. IN fact, he said, it was a very natural choice for the company to choose Malta as its flag bearer.
Only last year, the company set up MSC Malta Seafarers Co. Ltd, which now employs 13,500 seafarers, which is expected to increase. Over the next 10 years, MSC will be investing €9 billion in its fleet of cruise ships with the building of another 10 mega cruise ships. Some will be able to accomodate up to 7,000 pasengers and will all be registered in Malta.
Present for the press conference on board was Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, who said that MSC choosing the Maltese flag was an important milestone and “a mark of trust in our country and the maritime sector”. The government, he said, was committed to improving the tourism product and wanted to do more business with MSC.
The Meraviglia, christened at Le Havre on June 3, will provide 170 Maltese holiday makers a weekly opportunity to cruise the west Mediterranean from Malta.