Godwin Xerri / MMF

Godwin Xerri on Friday addressed his first Annual General Assembly as Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) Chairman since his appointment to the role last April.

Mr Xerri, who is also Focal Logistics Group CEO, succeeded Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon in the position, becoming the organisation’s third Chairman.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Xerri pointed towards the “articulation and implementation” of a National Maritime Strategy as the first priority for the organisation since his appointment.

However, he noted that the aim goes beyond the “mere drafting of a document”, but is about “consulting all stakeholders” in the maritime industry to “understand their achievement, challenges and aspirations and together, formulate an action plan with specific objectives and target dates”.

Godwin Xerri / MMF / LinkedIn
Chairman Godwin Xerri (centre) addressing the assembly / MMF / LinkedIn

Mr Xerri cited the example of fellow European Union (EU) Member States in the Mediterranean region, where the maritime industry assumes “systemic importance” which have Cabinet Ministers dedicated to maritime policy.

“The Maltese maritime industry was now calling out for a strategic plan which would be derived from a public-private endeavour,” he said, before adding that the MMF was prepared to “actively contribute” towards the articulation of this strategy, and was encouraged by the “positive response” that Government has shown towards this initiative.

Mr Xerri, who is a Founding Member of the MMF, also proceeded to pay tribute to his predecessors, Joe Borg and Judge Zammit McKeon, and pledged to carry on their mission of striving to consolidate the organisation’s position as the “prime interlocutor for the maritime industry” with all stakeholders, particularly policymakers and regulators.

He also acknowledged the climate of political maturity that exists in Malta on all issues related to the maritime industry, and saluted Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Aaron Farrugia and Opposition MP Ivan Castillo for managing to forge a “positive chemistry” between them. This, together with their “healthy working relationship” results in a “significant benefit” to the industry and the rest of the economy, Mr Xerri explained.

He added that the MMF will continue to “pursue unresolved matters” with Minister Farrugia, Shadow Minister Adrian Delia, and the regulators. In terms of the matters to be addressed, Mr Xerri mentioned the establishment of a specialised maritime court, the setting up of a dedicated maritime authority, the enactment of proposed Ship Agency Regulations, and also the proposal for the setting up of a structured consultation forum for the industry.

With regards to the latter, he outlined the organisation’s “positive track record” in terms of engaging in consultation with a “constructive mindset and approach”, consistently offering authorities its “meaningful contributions and workable solutions” which emerge from objective research and from the opinions and experiences MMF’s representatives have.

“There can be little doubt that the professional people forming part of our forum constitute our biggest resource as we strive to influence positively our policymakers towards creating new value in the evolving realities that await us,” Mr Xerri concluded.

Set up in 2015, the MMF is a non-governmental organisation that aims to serve as a “common platform” for Malta-based entities that are involved in the maritime, logistical, and transport sector in Malta. It facilitates communication between various sectors together with Government, in order to “assist and promote” the development of the maritime industry. It is also a Member of the European Network of Maritime Clusters.

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MMF Chairman Godwin Xerri / MMF

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