22 June 2005

The Web

Freeport invests millions

Following the completion of the privatisation programme last October, the Freeport has embarked on a number of projects targeted at expanding the facilities and increasing the equipment fleet. This investment programme will ensure that the Freeport is geared up to continue operating the largest container vessels afloat, thus securing a larger share of the Mediterranean transhipment market.
Shipping lines are investing heavily in larger container vessels, which require deeper water depths, adequate quays and have to be handled by bigger gantry cranes. Malta Freeport was the first Mediterranean port to operate an 8,500 TEU China Shipping vessel in October last year.
Looking forward, as from November this year, Malta Freeport will be operating two vessel calls of a 9,000 TEU+ capacity on a weekly basis. In order to be able to operate vessels of such size and larger Malta Freeport will invest in 4 quay cranes that will be able to reach 22 containers across the vessels. In view of this investment, infrastructural works will also be undertaken on Terminal 1 for the fitting of the rails. These works will be completed by summer 2006 in time for the arrival of the quay cranes. The additional rail is required due to the larger rail span of 30 metres when compared to the present 16 metre rail span.
In the meantime, upgrading works have also commenced on a quay crane of Terminal 1. These include extending the boom and increasing the air-draft to be able to handle effectively containerships stacking 18 containers across.

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