The Ragusa Xpress, a new ferry service connecting Malta to the Marina di Ragusa in Sicily, will operate from the Valletta Cruise Port upon its launch, set to take place in the coming months after a successful test run in January.
The arrangement is expected to be a temporary one, with the ferry link then moving to a dedicated terminal in Marsa, on the corner of Church Wharf and Cross Road (better known by their Maltese names, Il-Moll tal-Knisja and Triq is-Salib tal-Marsa).
The site in question is the property of Salv Bezzina and Sons Ltd.
A car park for 58 vehicles that will double as a drop-off location, on the adjacent site, has already received planning approval.
The terminal itself is currently in shell form. A planning application to build an office block on the site was first submitted in 1994.
The latest planning application (PA/7404/23) seeks to obtain approval for internal alterations, a redesign of the façade, and the re-use of the ground floor as a ferry terminal.
The application is also asking to change the use of the first floor from office space to a clinic with nine treatment rooms (a dentist’s office, according to some of the documentation).
The planning process is currently at an advanced stage, having already received feedback from a number of state entities, including the Environment and Resources Authority, which noted “no concerns from an environmental point of view.”
Salv Bezzina and Sons Ltd Managing Director Ranier Bezzina and Ragusa Xpress owner Paul Gauci both declined to comment on the new terminal, with a spokesperson for Mr Gauci simply stating that “the current plan is to operate from Valletta Cruise Port upon the start of operations.”
The arrival of a tourism link to the area will likely be welcome news to residents and investors in Marsa, and could kick-start fresh attempts to regenerate the inner harbour locality.
The new terminal, if approved, would be situated close to another proposed development, a 157-room hotel on land outside the development zone just off Aldo Moro Road – one of Malta’s busiest thoroughfares.
Marsa is also seeing significant Government investment aimed at beautifying the area. Spencer Garden is currently under renovation, against an estimated spend of €2.7 million, while a half million euro restoration of Belvedere Garden was inaugurated in 2022.
Meanwhile, Minister for the Regeneration of the Grand Harbour Miriam Dalli revealed in Parliament last week that a €6.5 million regeneration of the town centre is on the cards, with the project currently in consultation phase and slated to be complete in 2026.
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Works are expected to start in the coming weeks
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