Trade, shipping, import, export, freeport

Rates for containers entering or exiting the country through the Freeport rise today as revised tariffs enter into force.

Malta Freeport Terminals Limited (MFTL)’s new rates are effective from 1st October (today) and represent an increase of 3.4 per cent over the previously applicable rates.

The new Terminal Operator Charge to import a 20 foot container full of goods is €146.89, while that for a 40 foot container is €207.50.

Revised Domestic Rates within Official Tariff from 1st October 2021

The increase can be expected to impact consumer prices for common products, in a situation where shipping is already facing significant challenges.

The Times of Malta, reporting on the hike in prices seen in supermarkets across the country, pointed out on Monday that the price of a kilo of Barilla pasta has gone up from €1.09 to €1.40, and sunflower oil which once cost 99c is now about €1.40.

Whil these increases of between 20-30 per cent are on the extreme end, it reports that a more conservative estimate of the general increase is 15 per cent and more, felt mostly in commodities like flour and oil.

On Friday, the Nationalist Party commented on the “extraordinary” impact of freight costs on local prices, noting thay make up as much as six per cent of the wholesale price.

The party said there is “an urgent need” to help Maltese industry compete on a level playing field with competitors in Europe, and promised that a new Nationalist government would immediately address the competitive disadvantage facing factories, companies and importers in exporting or importing products with a support system that alleviates some of the current disadvantages.

PN spokesperson Peter Agius compared quotations for the export of pallets of products from Malta compared to the export of the same pallets from Sicily to France shows that the Maltese industry is facing transport prices of up to 44 per cent higher.

(L-R) PN candidate Stefan Cutajar, PN spokesperson Peter Agius, PN candidate Joseph Grech

The difference on one consignment of the same weight meant a difference of €1600 euros of added price on the Maltese product.

“On delivery of pharmaceutical products (high value) this has an impact of six per cent on the price. The Maltese product must then be already six per cent cheaper to start competing.”

He pointed out that on lower value manufacturing products, the impact of the transport price would be much greater.

Candidate Joseph Grech said the PN is responding to this call through studied proposals involving all operators in the distribution and transport chain, including for a dedicated fund providing up to €40 million of financing in direct support to Maltese companies in its first year.

Meanwhile, candidate Stefan Caruana explained how higher transport prices means higher prices for the Maltese consumer, and drew attention to the impact this could have on employment, as sectors under pressure from transport prices find it harder to invest in better wages and conditions.

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