Birzebbugia to get some relief with Freeport’s €20 million noise abatement measure

€20 million spent on rubber-tired gantry cranes will emit soft, white noise alert rather than a siren

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi (centre) and Freeport CEO Alex Montebello (right)
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi (centre) and Freeport CEO Alex Montebello (right)

The Freeport in Birzebbugia has secured new equipment in a €20 million bid to reduce noise pollution in the area. 

The €20 million was used to acquire 15 new Kone rubber-tired Gantry Cranes (RTGs) that stand over 27 metres high, seven of which are already operational. By March, all the newly acquired RTGs will be operational. 

As opposed to the typical siren alarm when this equipment is operational, the machinery makes use of a white noise alarm. The alarm is a soft, white noise alert with constant reverb. 

“The new features included with the RTGs, besides the white noise alarm, include auto-steering and a GPS device, which makes sure that it cannot stray from the stipulated path,” Freeport CEO Alex Montebello said, adding that the white noise would automatically start working after sunset following complaints from Birzebbugia residents. 

The total investment, Montebello said, amounted to €30 million, as the rest was spent on 31 new tractors and the maintenance of terminals. This was required after a record-breaking 3,300,000 containers passed through Malta’s international port in 2018 alone. 

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi congratulated Montebello on his leadership and promised that to further lessen the inconvenience for nearby residents, a park and a car park would also be built in the area. “This is one of the best ports in the EU. We worked on the commercial aspect of the Freeport as well as noise pollution measures, safety and the environmental concerns,” he said.