The Malta Council for Economic and Social Development met urgently on 13th October to discuss the potential impacts of the European Union’s new Emissions Trading System (ETS) on the Maltese economy and business operators.

The discussion was held on the initiative of the Malta Employers Association, and included Minster for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia and representatives from the Malta Maritime Forum.

At the meeting, MCESD members were informed that in the absence of global measures, the provisions contemplated by the EU in the ETS gave rise to unfair competition between EU ports and ports in other continents within the Mediterranean region.

This could lead to business and environmental leakage for the EU member states concerned, to the extent that Malta could suffer a permanent loss of its transhipment activity that today accounts for three million containers.

Other potential effects include the loss of direct connectivity with several ports worldwide, as the major shipping lines could opt to transfer their transhipment operations to non-EU ports where ETS does not apply.

MEA Director General Joe Farrugia highlighted the real risks which the ETS implementation poses to the Maltese maritime sectors and the wider economy, including the manufacturing industry which depends on the maritime and logistics sectors to ship in its raw materials and ship out its finished/processed products as efficiently as possible in terms of time and money.

Mr Farrugia appealed for Malta to coordinate efforts on the ground to request for the application of safeguards within the Directive to avoid such evasive practices with the support of the other affected member states “before the damage becomes irreversible”.

To this end, Mr Farrugia called for a national task force to tackle the matter.

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