Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi provided details on the upcoming shore-to-ship project at the Freeport.
It was explained how the tender for the project was issued at the end of last year, which means that in the coming months, after the bidder is selected, the works in the Freeport will start.
“The Government, together with the help of the European Union and the Corporation's funds, will invest around € 13 million in this project, which will benefit the neighbouring residents. This massive project will address issues which have been a nuisance to residents for years. A project that will seal the commitment of the Freeport to adapt and adopt immediately new methods of operation that are more environmentally friendly," said Minister Schembri.
Minister Schembri explained how a study carried out and commissioned by the Freeport Authority portrayed a clear picture of the benefits of this project.
“The project will lead to a drastic reduction in air emissions and even engine noise. Generally, a ship is moored at the Freeport for 24 hours. It is worth noting that last year about 1600 ships entered Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Through this Onshore Power Supply project, about 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide will be removed from the air each year. The study showed that with the implementation of this project, the result would be the same as removing 1,900 cars from circulation or as if 130,000 trees had been planted and as much as the decrease of the electricity consumption of 1,200 households," explained the Minister Schembri.
Minister Schembri added that after the applications are received, work will start in June, which will go on for about two years. This will be carried out in full coordination to ensure that the Freeport's operations are not hindered.
Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi also emphasised the benefits that the residents of Birżebbuġa and the surrounding area will enjoy, with the drastic reduction in the emissions and ships' noise. He said that funds from the €33 million which Malta has been allocated by the Just Transition Fund of the European Union will be dedicated to this project. The Onshore Power Supply project will help the country meet European environmental targets to reduce the country's emissions by 55% by 2030 and make Europe carbon-free by the year 2050. The Parliamentary Secretary also referred to other projects being co-financed by the Just Transition Fund, including charging pillars all over the country and investments to provide less polluting means of transport. The Onshore Power Supply project at the Freeport is another link in the chain of environmental projects which aim to protect the health of the Maltese and Gozitan people.