Joe Borg has announced his retirement as Chairman and board member of the Malta Maritime Forum (MMF).

Speaking at the forum’s Annual General Meeting, Dr Borg announced he will retire from the positions once a new Chairman takes over.

He described his five-year experience in the position, as the organisation’s first-ever Chairman, as very fruitful and personally enriching, and said he would cherish and treasure it forever.

In his speech, he appealed to his fellow board members to continue to work towards countering the negative perception that “very often clouds the maritime industry” by portraying an attractive and positive image of all the benefits it offers to the economy in terms of “investment, employment and by way of environmental sustainability”.

In his address, Dr Borg insisted “on the respect of all rights, whatever their source or origin, and irrespective of whether they arose from existing legislation, or from any agreement entered into between the State or State Agency and a particular operator or group of operators, or from any legitimate undertaking or practice.”

For this reason and in line with the new Objectives and Business Plan, he said the Forum’s relationship with the authorities and relevant stakeholders must be continuously strengthened.

Referring to climate change issues and environmental compliance in particular, Dr Borg said that sustainable development and business competitiveness can and must live side by side. 

He appealed to business, Governments and regional economic blocs to “work in unison to ensure that certain short-term costs can be neutralised until long-term benefits can be realised to provide a win-win situation for business and the attainment of climate change objectives”. 

At the same time, he said, countries and economic blocs must work in parallel to ensure that no “beggar thy neighbour” instances are created along the way, giving operators an unfair advantage if they operate from regions that lag behind in active sustainable policies. 

He appealed to European leaders to take the lead at a global level and drive the rest of the world to a higher bar in terms of standards of environmental protection. 

“There must be a race to the top and a fair level playing field rather than a waiting game for the other to take the first bold step which – if taken unilaterally - will bring about short-term costs to its operators,” he said.

Dr Borg also encouraged authorities to bolster investment with immediate effect in the area of waterborne transport which promises cleaner solutions for transporting people and goods from one place to another whilst at the same time reducing road traffic congestion.

Also speaking at the AGM, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Kevin J Borg presented his business plan for the next three years. He believes the plan “builds on the inherent strengths of the forum”, and in particular the wealth of knowledge and expertise held by its members which constitute the country’s major players and stakeholders in the maritime industry.

He said that it is his plan to organise the Forum on three fronts, namely better value to members through strengthened engagement, enhancing relevance and clout and ensuring stable finances to sustain long-term growth.

The AGM was also addressed by two keynote speakers, Joe Bugeja, the Chairman and CEO of Transport Malta and Kenneth Farrugia, Chief Business Development Officer (Investment Services) of Bank of Valletta - the Forum’s key Collaborating Partner.

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