Licensed boat operators whose livelihood seems threatened by a recent move to privatise the Malta-Comino ferry system have sought refuge in a representative organisation. The operators of non-scheduled charters and pre-booked trips around Malta and Comino joined the Malta Chamber of SMEs for formal representation. This decision was taken after the Government moved to privatise the service to an exclusive consortium. The step taken by the operators came after they filed a warrant of prohibitory injunction before the court followed by a request before the Public Contracts Review Board in a bid to have the contract annulled. The Court has provisionally upheld a warrant of prohibitory injunction over a government concession regarding the ferrying of passengers from Malta to Comino. A company was granted exclusively to one company as part of a tender issued by Transport Malta.
Government breaching competition laws – Malta Chamber for SMEs
In a statement, the Malta Chamber of SMEs outlined the events, in this case, saying that Transport Malta planned to replace the service offered by numerous small operators that have been in this business for decades. The Malta Chamber of SMEs will be defending the right of these operators not to be sidelined by a single player and consequently keep their place in the market.
“Being operators duly licensed by Transport Malta itself, it is highly unjust that the same authority did not involve the already existing and operating players with the drafting of its strategy and instead forged ahead with its drastic, potentially unconstitutional plans that have a direct and clear impact on their business operation. The way the tender was issued also raises serious doubts on its legality in terms of public procurement rules. The move is also deemed to pose a breach under competition law” said the Malta Chamber of SMEs