In order to address transport connectivity at this challenging time when the transport sector is still overcoming the consequences of the Pandemic, and when the whole sector is searching to become more environmentally sustainable, we will need a multidisciplinary approach with solutions for the whole of our region. During this period the valuable technical work of our experts and CETMO will be crucial in guiding us to ensure that the transport sector in the Mediterranean transitions out of the Covid crisis, more efficient, more resilient and better equipped, to contribute to the emission reductions to address the climate issues also in our region.
It is for this reason that Malta has chosen ‘Enhancing connectivity with GTMO African countries within the European framework’ as the theme for our Presidency.
Transport Connections in our region need to further evolve, in order to keep up with the pace set by our economies, which now demand new timings for delivery of goods not only by industry but also to address the mass online purchasing that has evolved. These changes brought about the need for more efficient logistics as the need for intermodal links between producer and consumer became more pressing. We now have the opportunity to examine these supply chains and identify the weakest links in order that these may be addressed, as it is likely that acquired consumer patterns are here to stay post Covid. Transport industries, that today are synonymous with intermodal logistic chains, continue to serve our national economies involving transport operators and transport users.
Indeed, during the pandemic, our experience in Malta has been that while mobility of persons came almost to a standstill, the logistic operations of freight have stood the test, providing urgently needed medication and supplies in general. This does not mean that this was the case everywhere, and that there was no fine tuning in our operations to enable the continuation of these freight movements. On the contrary, statistics show there was a 35% to 40% drop in cargo handled by ports in the Mediterranean as a result of substantial reduction of the main line carriers.