Miriam Camilleri is the Founder of MCConsult, a boutique maritime advisory firm and service provider. A veteran of the industry, she sits on the Board of the Malta Maritime Forum and chairs the Maltese branch of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Malta’s value proposition as a ship registry has evolved over the years. What are the reasons for the country’s success in this field?

Malta’s standing as a top ship register and the largest in the EU gained momentum gradually. Several policy issues have been under discussion for a number of years and it is only now that positive developments can be gradually and carefully presented to our international clientele.

One important reason for the growth in popularity of the Malta flag is the result of a continuous process of improvement over the years brought about by the ever-increasing collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Shipowners have continued to show confidence and trust in our legal regime and administrative system, for which support has always been forthcoming irrespective of the government in power.

How satisfied would you say clients who choose Malta to register their vessel are with their choice?

Several factors affect the choice. Flexibility, reliability, reasonable costs, and good service are all important attributes that must be maintained and improved. The flag administration, the service providers and all the staff involved in the registration process give their utmost to assist and provide a timely and efficient service. Malta is honoured to have on board quite a number of owners loyal to the flag and who are extremely proud to fly the Maltese flag on their ships sailing all over the world. Of course, they do so to their advantage.

When it comes to the courts, how well do they serve the specific needs of shipowners, operators and financiers?

Our law is very protective of all interests, including those of the owners and financiers who have full confidence in our system. When cases end up in court, these need to be dealt with efficiently and effectively. Legal versatility and competence are essential, and Malta is not lacking. However, the ever-expanding national, European and legal regimes are a growing challenge. The industry has been advocating for a number of years to have its own dedicated maritime court and Government has been listening. Now we need to walk the talk.

How can Malta’s maritime sector further improve its offering to investors?

The public–private sector tandem must be further strengthened. It is important that the industry and the respective authorities continue working towards strengthening this cooperation to improve the qualities that are the mainstays of the growth of Maritime Malta.

Meanwhile, banking and insurance services can definitely be improved – they are not particularly understanding of the needs of the maritime industry. This needs to be addressed if we are to improve and expand our services in this regard. We cannot offer a one-stop-shop service if we are nitpicking and refuse to move out of our comfort zone. We are very lucky that we are right in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and can offer a wide range of services to shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, charterers, and other stakeholders.

It is important never to lose sight of the fact that Maritime Malta is an integral part of Malta as an international service centre and that the Malta flag is integral to Maritime Malta. In short, we need 360° vision and must never rest on our laurels.

Finally, the maritime industry is the survival of Malta, as an island state. The Malta flag, the freeport, ship repair, and the wide range of maritime services are a chain we offer so that the industry can run efficiently and economically. Investing in the sector means contributing to our own survival.

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2024 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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