The transport minister for transport, infrastructure and capital projects Dr Ian Borg took the opportunity of the second Malta maritime summit to meet with his counterparts from Greece and Cyprus, which highlighted environmental concerns.
Dr Borg met with Shipping Deputy Minister of Cyprus Natasa Pilides and Alternate Minister of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy of Greece Nektarios Santorinios, with the scope of consolidating a common position on maritime affairs. The ministers discussed ways to improve coordination between Malta, Cyprus and Greece on a regional and international level. Dr Borg told a press conference, ‘these tripartite meetings enable us to discuss the way forward on certain important aspects for the benefit of the shipping industry, which at the end of the day, translate into benefits for the countries involved. Malta, Cyprus and Greece are large and influential maritime forces, not only in Europe but worldwide, and the joint efforts between us can surely lead to benefits for the shipping industry.’ He noted that environmental maritime aspects such as emissions from shipping and the protection of the seas were also discussed, especially the reduction in emissions. Ms Pilides stressed the importance of balancing remaining competitive in the shipping industry with being environmentally sustainable. Mr Santorinios highlighted the value of trying to find a common position on both international and EU levels.
Inaugurating the conference earlier in the day, Dr Borg cited Malta’s success as a shipping registry, both in the EU and globally, with more than 9,000 ships with a combined gross tonnage of 77 million flying the Maltese flag. He emphasised a number of factors including offering regulatory certainty, both through the European Commission-approved tonnage tax scheme and the highest regulatory standards, as well the contribution of workforce and entrepreneurs. He flagged the 2017 adoption of the Valletta declaration where the priorities for the EU’s maritime transport policy till 2020 were agreed upon, and the adoption of the revised maritime single window directive that will further facilitate trade between member states. Finally, Dr Borg stated huge progress was being made on environmental protection with the adoption of the initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, making the shipping industry the first international transport industry with a concrete strategy on this issue. The summit continues today, including a session on cybersecurity moderated by Dr David Cowan, editor-at-large of the Global Legal Post.