Government launches port charges refund scheme

Updated 04:22 PM

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The government has launched a port charges refund scheme for ship operators and cargo handlers.

The €2.08 million scheme which will be administered by Transport Malta was announced on Wednesday.

Ship operators, import and export agents as well as freight forwarding and shipping agents who were in operation between December 2019 and May 2020 are eligible to benefit from the scheme.

The scheme which is divided into two, will apply for those ships entering Malta’s ports with cargo between December 2019 and May 2020, offering a 35% refund on port charges, pilotage charges and berthing service charges.

The second scheme applies to those operating with trailers and containers in importation and exportation, where every trailer is eligible for €40 and every container is eligible for €20.

During the press conference in which the scheme was announced, Transport Minister Ian Borg remarked that ports were essential. He noted that during the coronavirus pandemic the shipping sector proved its strengthen as it continued supplying the islands. The industry generates around 14% of the Gross Domestic Product while it created thousands of value-added jobs, he maintained.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri explained that the scheme is aimed at ‘taking away a burden from importers while protecting consumers’.

“This measure, which forms part of the economic regeneration plan, complements other measures that we launched even recently to safeguard the exportation and importation economic sectors,” Schembri said, while stressing that the refund is aimed at those who brought cargo to Malta for our consumption as a country.

No applications are necessary as Transport Malta already holds the required information and will be informing clients about their refunds.  

In the case of importers and exporters of unitised cargo, applications need to be supported by documentation and receipts of payment during this period.

Ship agents and freight forwarders need to show delivery orders and bills of lading as applicable.

More than 1,350 ships, more than 24,700 containers and more than 14,700 trailers will be eligible for these refunds.

Maritime industry welcomes port charges refund scheme

The Malta Maritime Forum, which lobbies on behalf of the maritime industry, enthusiastically welcomed the scheme.

It highlighted that the scheme was one of the proposals it had made to assist the Maltese maritime sector in these difficult times.

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