Coronavirus uncertainty weighs on Gozo fast ferry service

The government will issue a call for the operation of a normal ferry service between Malta and Gozo, and a separate call for a fast ferry service

Government will be issuing two calls for a normal ferry service and a fast ferry link
Government will be issuing two calls for a normal ferry service and a fast ferry link

A fast ferry link between Malta and Gozo has been temporarily put on the backburner as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Ian Borg said.

The Transport Minister was replying in Parliament to a question by Nationalist Party MP Chris Said.

Borg said a call for expression of interest in a fast ferry link between Malta and Gozo is still being drafted following the cancellation of a request for proposals issued in 2017.

However, he added that issuing details on the proposed schedule for this service would be “premature” in view of the global economic “uncertainty” resulting from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Borg said the original request for proposals had linked the provision of a fast ferry service between Gozo and Valletta with a conventional service similar to that already offered by the Gozo Channel.

But this request for proposals was cancelled “due to changes of a technical and financial nature.”

Subsequently the government has opted to decouple the two services and now intends to issue two calls; one for a fast ferry and another for a conventional service.

In the original plan, the fast ferry service was to be operated three times a day from both Mġarr and Valletta.

The promise to introduce a fast ferry service was first made in the PL’s electoral manifesto in 2013 and was reiterated in the 2017 electoral manifesto.

On the other hand, the first calls for tender for the tunnel linking Gozo, another promise mentioned in the two manifestos, have already been issued.

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