The Mediterranean Sea is the central hub for maritime activity and Malta, being in the centre of the Mediterranean, benefits greatly from this. Currently, Malta’s maritime activity translates into employment of more than 20,000 people and a staggering 11% of the island’s GDP. From a layman’s point of view, these numbers are impressive; however an integrated maritime policy would give Malta the necessary tools to maximise its maritime potential.
In 2006, the European Union launched its Integrated European Maritime Policy which covered maritime transport, the competitiveness of marine business, employment in the marine sectors, scientific research and protection of the marine enviroment. In 2012, the EU identified five areas of blue growth in order to stimulate a long term plan for the creation of jobs. These are: blue energy, aquaculture, maritime, coastal and cruise tourism, marine mineral resources and, finally, blue biotechnology.
In light of this realisation, Malta is now taking the necessary steps to ensure that foreign businesses are enticed to invest in Malta’s maritime sector. Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Jose Herrera has recently launched ‘Malta Marittima’; a public-private partnership aimed at establishing Malta as a centre of excellence in the maritime sector. This will bring the Government closer to the Maritime Industry and be the catalyst for big companies to reach higher level of excellence in the sector. This will allow Malta to further develop and implement its integrated maritime policy.
The National Integrated Maritime Policy has the objective of establishing the ideal business environment for blue economy and blue jobs. The Blue Growth areas on which to focus are: aquaculture, coastal tourism, marine biotechnology, ocean energy, seabed mining, maritime transport, maritime financial services, ship building and repair, fisheries, and the oil and gas industry.
It is clear that, if Malta wants to make the next step in its bid to become one of the leading jurisdictions in the Maritime sector, it must look towards the areas mentioned above. The task is daunting, however Malta has the necessary expertise in the sector to start expanding its maritime endeavours.