Government committed to improve transport infrastructure - Mizzi

Transport Minister inaugurates the first of two new ferries which will link Sliema, Valletta and Cottonera

20 October 2014, 11:50am
The ferry will carry passengers between Sliema and Valletta • Photos by Ray Attard
The ferry will carry passengers between Sliema and Valletta • Photos by Ray Attard
Transport Minister Joe Mizzi on new Marsamxetto ferry • Video by Ray Attard
Transport Minister Joe Mizzi this morning said that government was looking at introducing measures which would promote the use of alternative modes of transport and improve the “inadequate” traffic infrastructure.

Speaking during the inauguration of the first of two new ferries which will link Sliema, Valletta and Cottonera, Mizzi said that in the coming days he will be holding a meeting with Transport Malta to bring forward road works in Msida to ease traffic congestion.

Although Mizzi did not commit himself to a completion date, he said works would be carried out around the clock.

However, while pointing out that government would soon commence work on a number of key arteries, namely Kappara and Marsa, Mizzi said that the solution to the growing problems related to traffic centred around greater use of public transport and other modes of transport, including sea links.

The 19-metre ferry was constructed in the UK and will be operated by Captain Morgan Leisure Ltd and Bianchi and Co Ltd. The second catamaran, replacing the ferry currently operating to the Three Cities, will be delivered in December. 

Exeter Maritime Services was commissioned to build the two 160-passenger - designed to take 260 - low wash ferries for operations across the Grand Harbour and Marsamxetto Harbour in Malta. The contract for the two ferries was valued at approximately €1.85 million.

The first vessel provides tourists and commuters a link between Sliema Ferries and Marsamxetto, while the second will link Lascaris Wharf with Senglea and Cospicua.

The vessels comply with the requirements of Transport Malta and were designed by Australian naval architect Adam Schwetz, who undertook the commission from the UK shipyard and worked in close cooperation with Marsamxetto Steamferry Services.

The ferries have very low wash characteristics, allowing them to make frequent trips across the two harbours with the minimum of disruption to other harbour users and vessels moored in close proximity.

The introduction of the new €1.85 million ferries are expected to see an increase in the passengers travelling between the four localities, previously serviced by aging and inefficient vessels.

The ferries have 96 seats in the main passenger lounge and 24 seats on the upper deck, with the possibility of adding a further 30 outdoor seats to increase the capacity to 260 should traffic volumes increase.