The administration of Malta’s industrial estates is a multi-faceted and ongoing enterprise that ranges from the development and upkeep of facilities such as roads and open spaces to the building and development of industrial properties. Overseeing this large portfolio of projects, and much more, is INDIS Malta.
The organisation stems from the Malta Development Corporation, which was established back in 1967, and which continued to evolve over its 55-year history. In 2005, MDC split into two companies, Malta Industrial Parks and Malta Enterprise.
More recently, in 2020, the company rebranded from Malta Industrial Parks to Industrial Innovative Solutions, or INDIS, to better reflect its aim of injecting innovation, both in terms of digitalisation and sustainability, into all its ongoing projects. The company continues to be entrusted with the administration of government-owned industrial estates around the Maltese islands as well as the allocation of industrial space for local and foreign investment projects for several decades.
The recent rebranding was not only a cosmetic exercise, but rather a reflection of the evolving nature of the organisation. Up until recent years, its property portfolio mainly included factories and two artisan villages. However, nowadays INDIS Malta offers a wider range of solutions and currently manages 16 main industrial estates, which include office space for knowledge-based industries, laboratories for the life sciences sector, as well as hangars for the aviation industry, among others.
The company has also launched a €470 million investment programme to future-proof Malta’s industrial infrastructure, thereby addressing the current shortages and ensuring the country can keep attracting both local and foreign investment, thus generating more wealth and employment opportunities.
In fact, Malta continues to be a very attractive value proposition for foreign businesses for a variety of reasons, including its long-term economic, political, and social stability; its strategic location within the EU with easy access to nearby markets; highly-skilled human resources; a competitive cost structure with low social costs; innovative and forward-looking ideas such as laws to regulate Medical Cannabis; and fiscal and financial incentives that help businesses set up and operate successfully in Malta.
While new challenges continue to present themselves from time to time, Malta has also proven itself nimble and fast to react to external factors. This was none more evident than during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, when the Government and its various entities were prompt to provide the required support in order to minimise the negative impact on economic stability as much as possible.
In this light, INDIS is also continuing to work alongside other local stakeholders and businesses to ensure the post-pandemic economic recovery continues and that Malta returns to the path of sustainable growth it was registering pre-2019.
The good news is that Malta is continuing to attract plenty of investment, with several new and expansion projects already in the pipeline. However, the country’s natural boundaries limit the amount of space that can be utilised for industrial purposes. To keep sustaining the growth of the economy, INDIS Malta is seeking to overcome this challenge by adopting a “going vertical” approach.
In this manner, wherever possible new facilities are being built on multiple levels to create more industrial space on land that is already committed for industrial purposes without increasing the footprint of these developments. Furthermore, in cases where companies currently have multiple facilities spread across the island, these facilities are being returned to INDIS in exchange for a newly built facility that streamlines and consolidates their operations into one multi-storey facility.
The organisation is also looking to meet the high standards and requirements of today’s businesses by equipping each estate with well-maintained and updated facilities and technologies. Work is already underway to improve INDIS’ internal digitalisation, to provide a better service to its tenants.
The installation of green walls around Malta is contributing to cleaner air
The “going vertical” initiative is also seeking to place greater emphasis on green sustainability through a variety of green measures implemented through each project. As well as reducing the horizontal footprint of new and future facilities, the organisation has been installing green walls – vertical structures covered by vegetation – which are designed to contribute cleaner air through the reduction of carbon dioxide and improve the areas’ attractiveness. They are also working on more sustainable-focused schemes, such as one that will enable tenants to install PV panels on roofs.
All in all, the “going vertical” effort is looking to ensure Malta has sufficient industrial space for the years to come through economic growth that can be sustained with minimal impact on the environment
Over the coming year, INDIS is looking to complete the regeneration of the Luqa industrial estate, a €5.5 million project that comprises the building of new roads, resurfacing existing ones, upgrading and new installing services, embellishing the area, as well as developing infrastructure in areas where it was missing to date.
Concurrently, they are also working on a multitude of other projects, which amongst others include the regeneration of the Ta’ Qali Artisan Village; upgrading of the Taxiway LIMA and other airside infrastructure; a new SME facility; light industry spaces in San Gwann; various expansions of well-established factories in Malta; and improving the road network within the industrial estates, leading to the generation of more industrial space.
New businesses looking to operate in Malta can reach out to INDIS, who continue to work closely with Malta Enterprise to provide a range of assistance for new investment projects. Should any industrial space be required, INDIS Malta is able to step in to identify and allocate suitable industrial space to these projects, as well as provide assistance in the building or redevelopment of such properties to adapt them to the prospective tenants’ requirements.