Ponte stops Sicily operations for winter after delays

Ponte Ferries will be pausing operations by end of September, but the company did not explain why 

Ponte Ferries operates between Valletta and Augusta
Ponte Ferries operates between Valletta and Augusta

Ponte Ferries announced that it will pause its operations for the winter by the end of September

The company made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday afternoon, but no reason for the suspension of service was given.

Its ferry service suffered several delays in the past weeks, with one voyage last week cancelled by the company after an hour-long delay. 

The fast ferry service to Sicily started running in summer 2021, offering commuters and hauliers a link between Valletta and Augusta.

Ponte Ferries is a joint venture between leading agro-processing compant Magro Brothers, hoteliers Julian and Michael Zammit Tabona, and Ozo CEO Fabio Muscat. It provided the first ever competitive alternative to Virtu Ferries on the Malta-Sicily route.

Ponte Ferries had a bumpy start to its operations in 2021. The service was due to launch on 8 August that year, but the company had to postpone operations at the eleventh hour over a bid by Virtù, which connects Pozzallo to Valletta, to also obtain a departure slot from the port.

Augusta mayor Di Mare and councillor Tania Patania had complained that the port authority ADSP was preventing Augusta from having its own maritime connection to Maltese tourism.

Eventually, Ponte Ferries secured a temporary permit from Italian authorities. The service started running in November 2021, operating between Wine Wharf quay in Valletta and Augusta five times a week.