Malta Freeport
Review and History

Malta Freeport is located on the shores of the Marsaxlokk Bay on the southeastern tip of the island nation of Malta. Malta Freeport is the commercial port for the island and for the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, also one of the most beautiful and quaint seaside locations on the island.

About 10 kilometers south of Malta’s other major port, the Port of Valletta, Malta Freeport is a major player on Mediterranean ocean-going commercial trade routes. Combining container handling with industrial storage, Malta Freeport is well-known for its no-nonsense business culture and lack of procedural roadblocks.

Port History

Home to over three thousand people, the village of Marsaxlokk was used by the ancient seafaring Phoenicians to anchor their ships, and it was the first landing point when the Turkish fleet began the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. The garrison at the 17th Century Fort San Lucjan thwarted a Turkish landing in 1614 (it is now home to the University of Malta’s marine science laboratory). In 1798, French troops disembarked at Marsaxlokk, and remains of the 18th Century fortifications can still be seen. In 1989, US President George Herbert Walker Bush met at Mikhail Gorbachev at Marsaxlokk Bay to discuss the end of the Cold War.

Malta Freeport was established in 1988, and it has grown tremendously since then. Today, it is a major transshipment center for the Mediterranean region.

In 1998, Malta Freeport undertook an organizational restructuring that was completed in 2001. The restructuring greatly improved the port’s operations. Today, Malta Freeport Corporation Ltd. is a landlord and the authority over the Freeport zone. Operating companies have taken over other port activities.

Malta Freeport Terminals Ltd. was created in 2001 as the only operator of the container terminals and warehouse facilities, making clear the distinction between port authority and port operator.

In 2004, the Malta government let a 30-year concession to CMA CGM, a leading worldwide container shipping company, to operate and develop Malta Freeport Terminals. In 2008, the concession was extended to 65 years, with the understanding that Malta Freeport Terminals will continue to be a common-user facility.

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