Malta has one of the largest shipping registries in the European Union, and the sixth-largest maritime flag in the world. Its location in the very middle of the Mediterranean, as well as its reputation as a robust and safe jurisdiction, have made the Maltese flag attractive for shipowners, financiers and ship management companies.
In 2019 the UNCTAD ranked the Maltese flag among the top performers in its review of Maritime Transport 2019. This review was carried out on the leading flags of registration by dead-weight tonnage. Currently, there are more than 8,300 vessels and 780 luxury yachts bearing the Maltese flag. Malta, however, has not paused for breath. It is registering tremendous growth to accommodate which the Merchant Shipping Directorate has had to expand its offices outside the country. Thus, in October 2019, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects inaugurated the first regional shipping office to be set up in Greece, in the seat of the ancient maritime superpower, Athens.
The launch of the Athens office is intended to promote the Maltese ship registry in Greece so that it may provide swift and convenient services to current Greek shipowners whose vessels are registered with the Maltese flag. An ancillary goal is to attract more Greek investors to the Maltese maritime sector.
The move by Malta to set up a maritime office in Malta follows upon many years of strong links between the two Mediterranean countries. Malta and Greece have the warmest of ties at every level, and this move by Malta is expected to serve not only Malta’s strategic interests, but to further related ones of Greece.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg said that the establishment of the office would help Malta continue meeting clients’ expectations, while looking ahead to a prosperous future. Minister Borg also attended a maritime conference in Cyprus, where he held numerous meetings with vessel operators registered under the Maltese flag. Together they discussed the challenges encountered by the industry and the ways in which the Maltese registry can become more competitive in such a dynamic sector.
Zeta provides advisory services and assistance to individuals and entities who are looking at setting up corporate structures as well as to register pleasure or commercial yachts under the Malta flag.